Russia to test launch ballistic missile

Moscow, April 10 (RIA Novosti) Russia will test launch later Friday a Topol intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk space centre in northern Russia, a spokesman for the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) said.

The missile was in active service from 1987 until 2007, and deployed with the 54th Strategic Missile Division near the town of Teikovo, about 240 km northeast of Moscow.

‘The goal of the upcoming launch is to confirm the reliability of the technical characteristics (of Topol missiles) during an extended service period,’ Alexander Vovk said.

The RS-12M Topol, also referred to as SS-25, is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) approximately the same size and shape as the US Minuteman ICBM. The first Topol missiles were put into service in 1985.

The missile has a maximum range of 10,000 km and can carry a 550-kiloton nuclear warhead.

Although the service life of the SS-25 was extended to 21 years after a series of successful test launches last year, the missile will be progressively retired over the next decade and be replaced by mobile Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) missile systems.

Russia’s SMF has a total of 541 ICBMs, including 306 Topol missiles and 59 Topol-M missiles.