Russia to deploy new-gen ballistic missiles

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{image-Baallestic misslies_15122007.jpg}Moscow, Dec 15: Russia's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) may adopt a new ballistic missile system in the next decade, an SMF spokesman said.

''In the next five to ten years Russia's SMF may adopt a new, more advanced ballistic missile system,'' Alexander Vovk said. At present, Russia deploys Topol-M (NATO reporting name SS-27) ballistic missiles as the mainstay of its land-based component of the nuclear triad, Mr Vovk said adding that as of December 2006, Russia's SMF operated 44 silo-based and three mobile Topol-M missile systems, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Russia's Defence Ministry earlier said several dozen silo launchers and over 50 Topol-M mobile missile systems would be put on combat duty before 2015.

''The Topol-M missile complexes have been developed to counter US missile shield plans in Europe,'' the official said, quoting SMF Commander Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsev. ''However, if Russia faces an unfavourable global situation in the future, we may decide to develop new [ballistic] missile systems,'' he added.

The first Topol-M mobile missile battalion entered duty with a missile unit stationed near the town of Teikovo, about 150 miles northeast of Moscow, on December 12, 2006.

General Solovtsov said a second missile battalion, equipped with Topol-M mobile ICBMs, would be put on combat duty before the end of 2007 and the deployment of silo-based Topol-M systems in the Saratov Region and road-mobile systems in the Ivanovo Region (central Russia) would be completed in 2010.

He also said Russia would equip the Topol-M missile systems with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles in the next two or three years.


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