The service life of Topol mobile ballistic missile systems could be extended until 2019, Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev said on Friday.
“The road-mobile Topol missile systems may remain in service with the SMF until 2019,” Karakayev said at a meeting with SMF veterans. “The evaluation of its [Topol missile] reliability and technical condition allows us to consider further extension of its service life.”
The RS-12M Topol (SS-25 Sickle) is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile, approximately the same size and shape as the U.S. Minuteman ICBM. The first Topol missiles entered service in 1985.
The missile has a maximum range of 10,000 km (6,125 miles) and can carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of 550 kilotons.
Although the service life of the SS-25 (originally 10 years) is being periodically extended, the missile will be progressively retired over the next decade and replaced by mobile Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) and RS-24 Yars missile systems.
As of August 2011, the SMF operated at least 171 road-mobile Topol missile systems, 50 silo-based and 18 road-mobile Topol-M systems, and nine RS-24 systems.