Russia developing SS-18 ICBM replacement

The Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces hope to develop a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile to replace the aging Cold War-era SS-18 Satan, aka the R-36M2 Voyevoda, by 2018.

“Construction of the missile is ongoing,” Col Gen Sergei Karakayev, Russia’s strategic missile forces chief, tells Ria Novosti. “It is to be completed by 2018.”

450px-Dnepr_rocket_lift-off_1.jpgRia Novosti also reports that Karakayev says the new ICBM will weigh in at 100 tons and that it will be based in a silo.

The missile is being developed in addition to the Topol-M and submarine-launched Bulava missile, which will be launched (Well, let’s hope not. Don’t much care for nuclear wars myself) from new Russia’s Borei-class ballistic missile subs. The first two boats, the Yuri Dolgoruky and the Alexander Nevsky are supposed to enter service soon. Russia hopes to build eight of the new vessels.

tridentlaunch.jpgMeanwhile, the United States has no immediate plans to replace the venerable Minuteman III… The weapons were updated a few years ago and should be fine until the 2030s. But there is an analysis of alternatives looking at what the country needs to do after 2030.

Meanwhile, the US Navy is going ahead with the SSBN-X ballistic missile submarine to replace the Ohio-class boomers starting 2021–delayed by two years from 2019. The boats will use the current Trident II D5 missiles at first when they become operational in 2031, but eventually will need to build a new missile.

Of note, the New START Treaty set these limits on both Russia and the US for strategic nuclear systems. It does not cover tactical nuclear weapons.

Deployed missiles and bombers: 700

Deployed warheads including both reentry vehicles and bombers): 1550

Deployed and Non-deployed Launchers (missile tubes and bombers): 800


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