Russia might finish testing its experimental RS-24 ICBM this year, a defense industry source told Interfax yesterday (see GSN, Oct. 27, 2009).
“Another one or two successful test launches must be done before the strategic rocket forces adopt the RS-24. As the previous test launches have been successful, it is probably to end state tests in 2010,” the source said.
The stealth-capable missile is designed to deliver up to four nuclear warheads, according to Interfax. Russia has conducted three tests of the weapon since 2007. Each one was deemed a success.
The deployment time line for the new weapons would depend “on the service life of existent missiles,” said Russian strategic missile forces commander Lt. Gen. Andrei Shvaichenko.
The RS-24 missile “will enhance the combat potential of the strategic rocket forces. Together with the silo-based and mobile RS-12M2 Topol-M, the RS-24 will make up the core of the forces’ strike component,” he said.
Shvaichenko’s organization intends to conduct 13 launches this year.
“In all, 13 launches are planned for 2010, including one during a strategic drill, two launches necessary for extending the service life of particular missile types, six test launches and four to dispose of old missiles with simultaneous placing of satellites to orbit,” he said (Interfax I, Jan. 14).
Meanwhile, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev yesterday outlined his country’s military priorities for the year, Interfax reported.
“Preservation of the strategic nuclear component is the most important mission,” he said (Interfax II, Jan. 14).