Russia is due to create a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by 2018, Strategic Missile Forces commander Sergei Karakayev said on Monday. “Construction of the missile is ongoing,” he said. “It is to be completed by 2018.”

The new missile is to replace the R-36M2 Voyevoda (NATO reporting name SS-18 Satan) missile.

So far all of Russia’s recent ICBM projects, both sea-launched (Bulava) and ground-based (Topol-M, Yars), have been solid fuel.

Karakayev said the new ICBM will have a launch mass of around 100 tons with a better payload-launch weight ratio than in a solid fuel missile. Such ICBMs can only be deployed in silos.

Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said that if the United States went ahead with its missile-defense-in-Europe plans, Moscow would respond in kind by notably creating a new sophisticated ICBM.