|RUSSIA TO GET NEW MOBILE ICBMS
MOSCOW. (Alexander Bogatyryov, defense commentator, for RIA Novosti)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov
recently visited the Teikovo strategic missile division, which placed the
first regiment of unique mobile ground-based Topol-M intercontinental
ballistic missiles on combat duty.
The Russian Strategic Missile Force has received over 40 Topol silo-based
ICBMs since 1997. However, unlike these earlier missiles, the mobile,
hard-to-detect and interchangeable Topol-M ballistic missiles, which are
immune to electromagnetic impulses, can be launched from a wide area.
R&D and deployment costs were reduced because the new missile system
retains the main engineering solutions of its predecessor.
Moreover, the Topol-M can breach any existing anti-ballistic missile
shield, including the highly expensive U.S. National Missile Defense
It is therefore hardly surprising that Topol-M missiles will soon be the
mainstay of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force and replace other missiles
that have been serving for over 20 years.
The Topol-M missile has a lift-off weight of 47.2 metric tons, a range of
over 10,000 km and carries a 1,200-kg warhead.
The Russian Armed Forces, which suffered an all-out crisis in the 1990s,
are now receiving new strategic offensive arms under an ambitious
modernization program. Just like most other major powers, Russia is
focusing on qualitative, rather than quantitative, military development in
accordance with the global military-political situation.
The United States has withdrawn from the 1972 ABM Treaty and resumed tests
of tactical nuclear weapons. It also continues to stockpile (instead of
destroying) nuclear warheads and Minuteman ICBM’s, which it launches as
drones for missile interceptors.
Moscow, which is worried about these and many other factors, must react
Russia’s rearmament program is largely motivated by tougher competition
between the great powers for unimpeded access to raw materials, energy and
U.S. representatives attending a conference that was held simultaneously
with the NATO summit in Riga discussed the possible use of power politics
for dealing with countries which allegedly threaten European energy
security. NATO can use its powerful military leverage and strategic
potential to attain this goal.
In this situation, Moscow has no choice but to rely on military force to
defend its national interests. Consequently, Russia is attaching priority
to maintaining and upgrading its strategic nuclear deterrent forces and
aerospace defense system.
The Russian Army has adopted Topol missiles; the Air Force is overhauling
its strategic bombers; and the Navy has ordered Borei-class ballistic
On April 5, the Government approved a project for expanding the aerospace
defense system up to the year 2016 and beyond. According to the plan, the
Russian Army is to adopt state-of-the-art early-warning, reconnaissance,
telecommunications, and automated-control systems, as well as missile
Moscow plans to spend nearly five trillion rubles, or about $200 billion,
on weapons development, procurement, modernization and repairs in the next
Such massive expenses are motivated by the need to renew the country’s
strategic nuclear forces, as well as by economic considerations.
Russian authorities hope that the growing national defense industry will
facilitate cost-effective high-tech production and create thousands of new
In this sense, the modernization of the country’s strategic nuclear
forces through the procurement of Topol-M missiles is an extremely
promising development. It is hardly surprising that the Russian Armed
Forces plan to receive another batch of Topol missiles next year.-0-