Russia has successfully test launched a modernised version of its RS-12M Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), thought to have multiple warheads on a manoeuvering bus suitable for deployment from land and sea.

Although the exact nature of the modifications has not been revealed, a Russian defence industry source told the Interfax news agency that “the development of advanced delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons is a way to preserve Russia’s deterrent at a time when the service life of most of its ICBMs is expiring”.

The 1993 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty II agreement requires Moscow to replace its multiple-warhead SS-18 missiles with single warhead designs such as the Topol-M, but Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty means Russia can again investigate the addition of multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles for its retained systems.

Source: Flight International