MOSCOW: Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), the land-based component of the nuclear triad, will put on combat duty a second regiment equipped with Topol-M mobile missile systems by the end of 2009.
Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) missiles are the mainstay of the ground-based component of Russia’s nuclear triad. As of the beginning of 2009, the SMF operated 50 silo-based and six road-mobile Topol-M missile systems.
“We will complete the rearmament of the second missile regiment in the Teikovo division with mobile Topol-M systems,” the new SMF commander, Lt. Gen. Andrei Shvaichenko told reporters in Moscow.
The first Topol-M mobile missile regiment has already been put on combat duty with the 54th Strategic Missile Division near the town of Teikovo, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Moscow.
Shvaichenko also said that a sixth regiment of silo-based Topol-M systems will be put in service with the Tatishchevo Missile Division near Saratov in southwestern Russia in 2010.
The Topol-M missile, with a range of about 7,000 miles (11,000 km), is said to be immune to any current and future U.S. ABM defense. It is capable of making evasive maneuvers to avoid a kill using terminal phase interceptors, and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys.
It is also shielded against radiation, electromagnetic pulse, nuclear blasts, and is designed to survive a hit from any form of laser technology.
At present, six types of silo-based and mobile ICBM systems are on combat duty with the SMF, including the heavy Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan) capable of carrying 10 warheads, and the Topol-M systems.
Shvaichenko said Russia will continue work to extend the service life of the SS-18 missiles to 31 years and the SS-25 Topol and RS-20B missiles to 23 years.