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Missile Last updated: August, 2014

Russia, alongside the United States, has one of the world's two largest and most advanced ballistic missile programs.


View 3D Models of Russian Ballistic Missiles

Russia inherited its program from the Former Soviet Union, which successfully launched the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the R-7, in 1957, and expended considerable resources on its missile program as part of the bilateral Cold War arms race. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia inherited the majority of the former Soviet Union's missile development and production infrastructure and arsenal. Despite facing financial troubles in the 1990s, the Russian Federation was able to commit the needed resources to maintain the arsenal.

Today the Ministry of Defense is undergoing a period of across the board defense modernization, which includes both modernization and replacement of various missile systems. Russia participates in numerous international efforts to limit missile proliferation, including the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missiles. At the bilateral level, Russia and the United States concluded the New START Treaty, limiting each country to 1,550 nuclear warheads on 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), and strategic bombers. [1]

Strategic Rocket Forces

Russia currently deploys five ICBM platforms, three of which were developed during the Soviet period, and two of which have been developed by the Russian Federation. The Soviet-era systems are: the R-36M2 (NATO SS-18 'Satan'), the UR-100N (NATO: SS-19 'Stiletto'), and the RT-2PM (NATO: SS-25 'Sickle'). [2] The newer systems developed in the Russian Federation are: the RT-2PM2 Topol-M (NATO: SS-27 'Sickle B') and the RS-24 Yars (NATO: SS-29)

Russia deploys 52 R-36M2 missiles, tipped with ten warheads each, in silos at Dombarovsky, Orenburb Oblast and Uzhur, Krasnoyarsk Krai. [3] The R-36M2's service life has been extended far beyond its intended service life of 15 years several times, and the Commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN), Lt. General Sergey Karakayev, has stated that the service life could be extended to 33 years to enable the missile to remain in service until 2022. [4] Russia possesses 40 operational UR-100N missiles armed with 6 warheads each, deployed at Tatishchevo, Saratov Oblast. [5] The UR-100N is the oldest ICBM in the Russian arsenal, and it is expected to remain in service until 2019. Because of its age, Russia tested the UR-100N multiple times between 2006 and 2011 to prove its stability in order to extend its service life up to thirty-three years. [6] The RT-2PM Topol was the world's first road mobile ICBM. Approximately 150 of the single warhead missile are deployed at Yoshkar-Ola, Mari El Republic; Nizhnii Tagil, Sverdlovsk Oblast; Novosibirsk, Novosibirsk Oblast; Irkutsk, Irkutsk Oblast; Barnaul, Altai; and Bologoyev, Tver Oblast. [7] Lt. General Karakayev stated that the missile may stay in service until 2019. [8]

Although Russia continues to extend the service life of its Soviet legacy ICBMs, Lt-General Karakayev has stated that by 2016 the missiles will constitute only 40% of the Russian ICBM arsenal, and that by 2021 98% of the Soviet missiles will be retired. [9] Russia has deployed 78 of the single warhead Topol-M missiles in both silos and road-mobile launchers, 60 in silos at Tatishchevo, Saratov Oblast, and 18 road-mobile missiles at Teykovo, Ivanova Oblast. [10] Russia is no longer producing new Topol-M missiles, and all new road mobile ICBMs will be the RS-24. An update of the Topol-M, the 4 warhead RS-24 Yars is the world's first road mobile ICBM with MIRVs, and Russia began deploying it in 2013. Russia has deployed 33 RS-24 missiles at Teykovo, Novosibirsk and Nizhniy Tagil.

As Russia retires Soviet-era heavy ICBMs with many warheads and replaces them with smaller solid fueled missiles with fewer warheads, its total number of deployed warheads has decreased. To reverse this trend, a new silo-based, liquid-fueled heavy ICBM called Sarmat is being developed and will begin to replace the R-36M2 between 2018 and 2020. [11] In addition, Russia continues to develop and improve its road mobile and silo-based solid fueled ICBMs under the names Yars-M and Rubezh. [12]

Strategic Fleet

Russia deploys three types of submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs): the R-29R (NATO: SS-N-18 'Stingray'), the R-29RM Sineva (NATO: SS-N-23 'Skiff'), and the R-30 Bulava (NATO: SS-NX-32). The R-29R and R-29RM are Soviet legacy SLBMs carried aboard Soviet-era submarines, and the R-30 is a new SLBM developed for the new Russian Project 955 Borei class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN).

The three warhead R-29R is deployed aboard Project 667BDR Kalmar class submarines (NATO: Delta III). Russia currently deploys three Kalmar class submarines with the Pacific Fleet based at Vilyuchink, Kamchatka. [13] Each submarine carries sixteen missiles, for a total of 48 warheads. Kalmar class submarines, and their R-29R SLBM, have exceeded their planned service life and are expected to be withdrawn from service as new Borei class submarines and R-30 missiles enter into service. Russia deploys the R-29RM SLBM on Project 667BDRM Delfin class (NATO: Delta IV) submarines with the Northern Fleet at Gadzhiyevo, Murmansk Oblast. [14] Each ship carries sixteen missiles with four warheads apiece for a total of 64 warheads per ship. Three Delfin class submarines are in active service, with three undergoing overhaul. [15] As part of the overhaul, Russia restarted production of the R-29RM, producing a new ten warhead variant designated the R-29RMU2.1 Liner. [16] Overhaul of the last ship is expected by 2015, and will extend each ship's service life by ten years. All Delfin class submarines are expected to be retired between 2019 and 2025. [17]

The R-30 is the first Russian SLBM developed in the post-Cold War era for deployment on the new Project 955 Borei class submarines. The first two Borei class ships, Yuri Dolgoruki and Alexander Nevsky, were commissioned in 2013, and will enter service in early 2014. The submarines' entry into service was delayed after a series of failed tests of the Bulava missile. As of January 2014, the third ship of the class, Vladimir Monomakh, is awaiting manufacturer's acceptance trials before commissioning into the Russian Navy. [18] Russia plans to deploy a total of eight Borei class submarines. [19] The first three Borei submarines carry sixteen Bulava missiles, each with six warheads. [20] The final five Borei submarines will be designated Project 955A, and will carry twenty R-30 missiles each. [21]

In addition to its land based ICBMs and SLBMs, Russia deploys numerous ballistic missiles with conventional warheads.

Cruise Missiles

The Kh-55 (X-55; NATO: AS-15 Kent) is Russia's primary nuclear cruise missile. Russia deploys the air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) on two bombers, the Tu-160 (NATO: Blackjack) and the Tu-95MS (NATO: Bear-H). Russia operates thirteen Tu-160 bombers, each equipped with up to twelve Kh-55SM (NATO: AS-15B 'Kent-B') cruise missiles. [22] The Air Force deploys two regiments of Tu-160 bombers at Engels, Saratova Oblast. [23] Fifty-five Tu-95MS bombers are deployed at Ukrainka, Amur Oblast. [24] Each Tu-95 can carry sixteen Kh-55 (NATO: AS-15A 'Kent') cruise missiles. Russia is developing a replacement for the Kh-55, the Kh-102. [25]

History

World War II to Sputnik: 1945 to 1957
In July 1944 Soviet authorities released Sergei Korolev, a former chief of the Jet Propulsion Research Group (GIRD) in charge of aircraft development, from a GULAG prison camp. Korolev was put in charge of a team of engineers and tasked with designing a missile equivalent to the German A-4 (V-2). When World War II ended, Soviet troops moved across Germany to recover A-4 parts, components, and production equipment. In addition to missile parts, the Soviets acquired and restarted production at a liquid oxygen plant. The original Soviet plan called for rebuilding the A-4 in Germany. The Soviets occupied the Mittelwerk missile factory in Norhausen, and with salvaged technical documents and hundreds of German scientists, including Helmut Gottrup, a guidance specialist, and Kurt Magnus, a gyroscope specialist, went to work building the A-4. [26]

In May 1946 Soviet authorities issued a decree, "Questions of Rocket Propelled Armaments," officially recognizing the work at Norhausen and calling for Soviet reproduction of the missile and establishment of a testing range in the USSR. The new range was established at Kapustin Yar in the Kazkah Soviet Socialist Republic, and in 1947 Korolev and his team moved to the new testing ground to launch the A-4. After eleven launches, with only three successes, in September 1948 the USSR launched the first A-4 manufactured and produced with all Soviet components in Soviet factories. The new missile was renamed the R-1 (NATO: SS-1 'Scunner'), and was accepted into military service in 1951. [27]

Following the successful test of an atomic bomb in 1949, the USSR sought to develop a miniaturized nuclear weapon and a longer-range ballistic missile delivery system. The R-5 (NATO: SS-3 'Shyster'), with a range of 1,200km and the capability of carrying a 1.5 ton nuclear warhead, entered into service in 1956. The next step in the Soviet missile program was to develop an ICBM. The R-7 Semyorka (NATO: SS-6 'Sapwood'), utilized staging in the form of strap-on boosters for the first time. The strap-on boosters allowed for the extra thrust necessary to lift the rocket to ICBM ranges. The R-7 became the world's first ICBM after a successful test launch on 21 August 1957. On 4 October the Soviet Union used the R-7 to launch Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite, into orbit.

Nuclear Arms Race and the Beginning of Arms Control: 1957 to 1969
In the United States, following the launch of a Soviet ICBM and satellite into space, the Gaither Committee, tasked with evaluating civil defense in case of a nuclear attack, asserted that the Soviet Union could have a significant ICBM capability by the end of the decade. Alongside Soviet General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev's announcement that the USSR was producing "ICBMs like sausages," this produced a widespread belief in the existence of a missile gap between the USSR and the United States. The United States responded by increasing its efforts to deploy new missiles to counter the perceived gap.

In the early 1960s the United States deployed Thor IRBMs in the United Kingdom and Jupiter medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBM) in Italy and Turkey. In response to the U.S. deployments, the USSR planned to deploy missiles to Cuba. Operation Anadyr called for three regiments of R-12 missiles (32 missiles total); two regiments of the R-14 (16 missiles); seven Project 629 (NATO: Golf) submarines with three R-13 SLBMs each; and one IL-28 bomber with nuclear cruise missiles. [28] In October 1962, the USSR deployed three R-12s with 24 missiles to Cuba, setting the Cuban Missile Crisis in motion. [29] After the R-12 missiles were spotted by U.S. Corona satellites, a blockade of the island was put into place. The R-14 missiles were cut off by the blockade and never reached the island. [30] Thirteen days after the crisis began Khrushchev agreed to remove all missiles from Cuba in exchange for the removal of U.S. missiles from Turkey.

Inside the Soviet Politburo, the Cuban Missile Crisis solidified the role of strategic weapons, and especially ballistic missiles, as nuclear delivery systems. The crisis showed the Soviet elite that strategic missiles could and would play a central role in any conflict between the two superpowers. Events therefore solidified the role of the Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN), established in 1957, as a distinct branch of the military in charge of strategic missiles. The crisis also precipitated Khrushchev's 1964 removal from power, and Leonid Brezhnev became the General Secretary of the USSR. Under a policy of parity or superiority, Brezhnev increased defense spending, including for more advanced ICBM systems, so that the USSR would not require forward deployed missiles. [31]

The USSR simultaneously pursued five different missile programs in the 1960s, including a light ICBM, a heavy ICBM, a super-heavy ICBM, new SLBMs, and a space based "fractional orbital bomb system (FOBS)." [32] By the end of the decade, the Soviet Union had eight different ICBM systems comprising over 1,000 total launchers deployed across the USSR in hardened silos, and over 200 SLBMs deployed at sea. [33] While the Soviet Union lagged behind the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s, the USSR had achieved missile parity with the United States by 1970. In addition to ICBMs, the Soviet Union developed new short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM). In 1964 the R-17 Elbrus (NATO: SS-1 'Scud-B') entered into service. In 1965 an extended version of the R-17M Elbrus-M (NATO: SS-1D 'Scud-C'), was produced. Over the next fifteen years the Scud-B/C would be exported to numerous countries, including Egypt, North Korea, and Iraq. Today, the Scud-B and Scud C are the most proliferated missiles in the world.

In 1963, the USSR and the United States signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) banning nuclear weapons and nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater. Seven days after the signing of the PTBT, the UN General Assembly accepted resolutions from the United States and the Soviet Union calling for a ban on weapons in space. Advances in rocketry and space technology had opened up the possibility of deploying nuclear weapons in space; however, advances in satellite technology, ranging from communications to image intelligence, and the promise of manned space exploration, offered competing uses of space. The weaponization of space would likely lead to long-lasting debris fields in space, and this debris would inhibit the use of space indefinitely for civilian and intelligence support. To preserve space and the benefits that satellite technology offered, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Outer Space Treaty (OST) in January 1967, prohibiting placement of WMD in space, in orbit, or on celestial bodies, including the moon. [34] The treaty furthered reserved space "for all mankind," and assured that astronauts would be treated as envoys of all mankind. [35]

Cooperative Restraint and Arms Control: 1969 to 1991
From 1969 on, the United States and the Soviet Union negotiated a number of arms treaties first capping, and later reducing, the number of deployed ICBMs/SLBMs and nuclear warheads. Since the first arms control treaty, the counting of delivery systems has been the primary means of limiting and reducing strategic arsenals.

Between November 1969 and May 1972, the United States and the Soviet Union met to discuss limiting strategic offensive and defensive weapons systems in the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT-1). Asymmetries in the U.S. and Soviet arsenals at the time complicated negotiations. In 1972, the USSR deployed approximately 300 more ICBMs/SLBMs than the United States; however, the United States, with MIRV'ed missiles, had double the warheads of the Soviet Union. [36] The Soviet Union countered these warhead asymmetries by producing missiles with higher throw weights capable of carrying larger payloads. By 1970, each country had robust missile arsenals deployed across its territory and on submarines throughout the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Given the high ballistic missile saturation, both sides began developing anti-ballistic missile defense (ABM) systems.

SALT-I talks resulted in two agreements in 1972, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty), and the Interim Agreement on Offensive Arms. The ABM Treaty limited each country to fielding two fixed, ground based ABM systems, one around each country's capital, and one around a non-specific ICBM silo base. [37] The Interim Agreement capped the number of ICBMs and SLBMs on both sides at their levels as of 1 July 1972. The inequality in missile and warhead numbers and capabilities posed problems for both governments, and the Interim Agreement was seen as a stepping stone that each country agreed to abide by until a more comprehensive agreement could be reached.

The United States and the Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II (SALT II) treaty in June 1979, which addressed strategic nuclear delivery systems by capping the number of ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers, and limiting the permissible number of MIRV'ed vehicles. The United States never ratified the treaty due to the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; however, each country agreed to abide by the treaty's limits nevertheless.

In the mid-1970s, the Soviet Union developed and deployed the RSD-10 "Pioneer" (NATO: SS-20 Saber and SS-28 Saber II), a road mobile nuclear IRBM. The missile significantly upgraded the USSR's ability to strike Western European and NATO targets. NATO immediately responded with a "two track" program to negotiate with the Soviets to eliminate such weapons, while simultaneously developing its own intermediate range capability should negotiations fail. [38]

Negotiations began in 1980, but ceased in 1983 when NATO deployed Pershing II IRBMs and Tomahawk ground launch cruise missile (GLCM) in Europe. Talks resumed in January 1985, with both sides signing the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in December 1987. The treaty eliminated all ground based short and intermediate range missiles worldwide (ranges of 500-5,500km), and entered into force on 1 June 1988. [39]

Although the INF Treaty eliminated an entire class of weapons, the U.S. and the USSR continued to deploy ICBMs and SLBMs in large numbers throughout the Cold War. With its signature in July 1991, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) placed limits on the number of missile launchers and warheads.

Dissolution of the Soviet Union and Legacy Challenges: 1991 to 2000
On 25 December 1991 Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev announced the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The breakup had a profound effect on the Soviet/Russian military. Nearly 24% of ICBM launchers were now stationed outside of Russia in the various independent republics. [40] Russia and the United States moved quickly to denuclearize the republics; however, many missiles remained in these countries. In addition, many in the Soviet military, including in the RVSN, pledged allegiance to their new countries, resulting in a drastic loss of military manpower. [41] From 1991 to 1999 Russia worked to remove missiles and related technologies from the newly independent republics. All missiles were removed from Kazakhstan and Belarus, and all silos destroyed by 1996. Ukraine declared that all missiles on its territory belonged to Ukraine and would subsequently be destroyed, with the single exception of 32 completed, but not yet deployed, UR-100N missiles, which Russia purchased from Ukraine. [42] The last missile silo in Ukraine was demilitarized in 1991 and destroyed in 2001. Between FY1993 and FY2013 the United States provided over $1.7 billion to Russia though Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programs for Strategic Offensive Arms Elimination (SOAE). [43]

In addition to missiles and personnel, approximately 75% of the infrastructure necessary for missile production was located outside of Russia. [44] With the loss of infrastructure and drastically reduced budget, Russia was unable to maintain missile production rates, and was forced into a policy of missile maintenance. This proved problematic, as the same factories needed for new missile production were also necessary for missile maintenance. Lacking the ability to produce new missiles in significant numbers, by 1998 Russia had doubled over half of its ICBMs' service lives. [45]

In 1993 President Boris Yeltsin issued a series of decrees in an attempt to offset force disintegration and ensure the Russia deterrent. Yeltsin's decrees called for the development of a new ICBM, the Topol-M; a new SLBM, the RS-30 Bulava; and eight new Borei class submarines. [46] Although Yeltsin initiated the above programs, they did not develop fully until the 2000s.

START-I was signed in September 1991 and entered into force in 1994. Russia was able to meet the treaty limits in part by eliminating missiles located outside of Russia following the collapse of the USSR. Negotiations on START-II and later START-III occurred throughout the 1990s; however, neither treaty entered into force.

The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in a chaotic environment in Russia that included the loss of government control and the rise of organized crime. The almost anarchic environment and lack of proper oversight led to Russian agencies, institutions, and individuals exporting missile components and technologies to countries around the world. The extent to which Russian entities aided rocket and missile programs is unknown; however, reports cite Russian entities as having aided programs in India, China, Brazil, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Iran. [47] In 1995 Russia joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a voluntary agreement designed to limit the export of missile systems and critical technologies. Despite signing the MTCR, concerns persist that Russian entities aided the export and spread of missile technologies throughout the late 1990s.

Putin, the Reemergence of Russia and Military Modernization: 2000 to 2011
In 2000, Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia, and by 2005 had succeeded in centralizing control and stabilizing the economy. Putin attempted to initiate a series of military reforms, but was unable to gain support for these reforms until after the 2008 war with Georgia. In 2010 Moscow stated that it would spend 20 trillion rubles on military modernization over the next ten years. [48] The modernization plan includes a continuation of Yeltsin-era modifications, especially the development and deployment of eight Borei class submarines, the R-30 Bulava SLBM, and the Kh-102 LACM. In addition, plans are underway for a new medium weight ICBM by 2015, and a new heavy launch ICBM capable of carrying 10-15 warheads between 2018 and 2020. The Topol-M and RS-24 Yars currently meet the requirements for the medium and road-mobile ICBMs.

Initially the first Borei class submarine, the Yuri Dolgoruki, was to enter service in 2001; however, its ballistic missile failed in all three of its initial flight tests, causing cancellation of the missile program. The R-30 Bulava was designed to replace the previous missile as the SLBM for all Borei class submarines. The first Bulava test occurred in 2004 and ended in failure. In total, eight of the first twelve tests failed, leading Russia to once again reexamine the program. In 2009 an inspection found that poor quality control in component manufacturing had resulted in the failures. The problems were addressed, and in 2010 seven successful flights were conducted. In 2011, the Bulava was tested from the Yuri Dolgoruki for the first time. Following its successful launch, the missile entered into serial production. The keels for the next two submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, were laid in 2004 and 2006.

In 2002, Russia signed the Hague Code of Conduct Against the Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC). The HCOC strengthens the MTCR by establishing binding commitments to stem the proliferation of ballistic missiles. In January 2008, Russia suspended implementation of the pre-launch notices required by the HCOC. [49] Moscow stated that current members were not issuing pre-launch notifications, and therefore Russia would not either. [50] The United States does not submit pre-launch notifications through the HCOC. However, the United States and Russia supply each other with pre-launch notification through bilateral channels, including the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers. [51]

In December 2001, the U.S. formally withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missiles (ABM) Treaty. The ABM Treaty had an "unlimited duration," but allowed for either party to withdraw if "extraordinary events" jeopardized national security. The U.S. cited the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and worldwide missile proliferation as detrimental to U.S. security. In December 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush announced a missile defense plan that included ground and sea-based ABM systems. President Putin stated that U.S. missile defense would not pose a threat to Russia; however, he changed his stance when in 2006 the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) conducted a study examining potential sites in Poland and the Czech Republic.

In 2008, on the eve of the G-8 Summit in Moscow, Putin stated that Russia would retaliate against the stationing of missile defense components in Central and Eastern Europe by targeting European cities with Russian missiles. Putin recommended that the United States instead station radar sites in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq, or at sea. Following the election and President Obama's inauguration in 2009, the U.S. scrapped the Bush plan for Obama's new European Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA), which did not include plans for radars or missile defense components in Poland or the Czech Republic. Declared plans for U.S. missile defense in Europe do not mention a threat from Russia. Instead they are intended to protect NATO from a limited IRBM or ICBM attack from a rogue state. Current U.S. plans for European PAA involve stationing U.S. Aegis-capable warships with missile interceptors in the Mediterranean Sea and building a missile defense site in Romania. [52] Additionally, the United States has stationed Ground-based Midcourse Defense Missile Interceptors in Alaska and California to counter limited missile threats to the West Coast. [53]

In April 2010, Russia and the United States signed the New START Treaty as a replacement to SORT. New START which entered force in February 2011, returned to the previous arms control standard of focusing on the number of allowable ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers in each arsenal, while also limiting the number of deployed warheads for all strategic systems. Russia was already below the treaty limits of 700 missiles and bombers and 1,550 warheads, and does not have to reduce its arsenal to adhere to the treaty. According to the October 2013 New START data exchange, Russia has 473 deployed delivery systems and 1400 deployed warheads. In addition, the treaty preamble recognized the interrelationship between offensive and defensive missiles; however, it did not place missile defense obligations on either country. Russia has stated that its interpretation of the agreement leaves open the possibility to withdraw from the treaty should the U.S. increase its missile defense capabilities in a way that threatens Russian national security.

Recent Developments and Current Status

In 2012 the Russian Navy announced that strategic nuclear submarines would resume constant patrolling of the world's oceans. In 1984, the USSR conducted more than 230 submarine patrols, continuously having a nuclear-armed submarine in international waters. [54] In 2008 Russia conducted ten limited patrols, the highest number since the collapse of the USSR. [55]

The Yuri Dolgoruki, the lead ship of the Borei-class ballistic missile submarines was commissioned into the Russian Navy in January 2013, and the second of the class, Alexander Nevsky, was commissioned in December 2013. [56] Both ships were significantly delayed due to testing failures and production difficulties associated with their Buluva missiles. The next ship of the Borei-class, Vladimir Monomakh, has been completed and is awaiting sea trials. [57] The next five ships of the Borei class, including the fourth ship the Knyaz Vladimir, will be structurally different from the first three, and will subsequently be designated the Project 955A or Borei-A class submarines. Construction on Knyaz Vladimir began in July 2012, and work on the next two ships of the class did not begin as planned in mid-2013. [58]

In April 2013, a Russian defense official said that Russia was in the developmental stages of producing a new railway-based ICBM. [59] A railway system would use existing rail-lines to transport ICBMs across the country. The Soviet Union deployed a rail-based system during the Cold War, but the system was disassembled between 2005 and 2007. [60]

In July 2013, Russia announced that it plans to increase its cruise missile arsenal by a factor of 30 by the year 2020. Moreover, it took steps to move cruise missile production entirely inside its borders, awarding Russian-owned NPO Saturn a three-year contract for cruise missile engine manufacture. Previously, engines had been manufactured by a Ukrainian-owned company. [61]

In July 2014, the U.S. government determined Russia had tested a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which obligates the United States and Russia "not to possess, produce, or flight-test" missiles with maximum ranges between 500 and 5500 km. [62] Russia reportedly began testing the prohibited GLCM, referred to as the R-500, in 2008, leading Washington to raise the issue with Moscow directly in May 2013. [63] Unsatisfied with Moscow's response, Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, briefed NATO allies on U.S. concerns regarding Russian compliance in January 2014. [64] Six months later the U.S. State Department released its annual Compliance Report, marking the official determination in the public domain of Russian non-compliance with the INF. [65]

The report did not mention a second missile, the RS-26 Rubezh ballistic missile, which has also raised concerns within Washington and NATO. Russia tested the RS-26 beyond INF-prohibited ranges in May 2012, qualifying the missile as an ICBM counted under New START and therefore not subject to the INF. [66] However, Russia has also flight-tested the RS-26 to ranges within those proscribed by the INF, making it very similar to the SS-20 Saber (or RDS-10 Pioneer), which precipitated INF negotiations in the 1980s. [67] For this reason, many experts and officials refer to the RS-26 as a "circumvention" rather than a violation of the treaty. [68] While Washington has requested high-level dialogue with Moscow to discuss its concerns regarding the R-500 cruise missile in particular, the impact of Russia's development of these two systems and the outcome of the U.S. determination of an INF treaty violation remains to be seen.

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[24] Pavel Podvig, "Strategic Aviation," Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, 15 November 2012, russianforces.org.
[25] Pavel Podvig, "Strategic Aviation," Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, 15 November 2012, russianforces.org.
[26] Steven J. Zaloga, The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword: The Rise and Fall of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces, 1945-2000, Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002), pp. 4-10.
[27] Steven J. Zaloga, The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword: The Rise and Fall of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces, 1945-2000, Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002), pp. 82-86.
[28] Steven J. Zaloga, The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword: The Rise and Fall of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces, 1945-2000, Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002), pp. 82-86.
[29] Steven J. Zaloga, The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword: The Rise and Fall of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces, 1945-2000, Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002), pp. 101-120.
[30] Steven J. Zaloga, The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword: The Rise and Fall of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces, 1945-2000, Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002), pp. 101-114.
[31] Steven J. Zaloga, The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword: The Rise and Fall of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces, 1945-2000, Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002), pp. 101-114.
[32] "USSR/Russian Strategic Offensive Force Loadings 1959-2002," Natural Resources Defense Council, www.nrdc.org.
[33] "USSR/Russian Strategic Offensive Force Loadings 1959-2002," Natural Resources Defense Council, www.nrdc.org.
[34] "Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies," distributed by Department of State, 27 January 1967, www.state.gov.
[35] "Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies," distributed by Department of State, 27 January 1967, www.state.gov.
[36] "US Strategic Offensive Force Loadings 1945-2012," Natural Resources Defense Council, www.nrdc.org; "USSR/Russian Strategic Offensive Force Loadings 1959-2002," Natural Resources Defense Council, www.nrdc.org.
[37] U.S. Department of State, "Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems," 26 May 1972, www.state.gov.
[38] Amy F. Woolf, Mary Beth Nikitin and Paul K. Kerr, "Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements," Congressional Research Service, 20 February 2013.
[39] "Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Elimination of Their Intermediate-range and Shorter-range Missiles (INF Treaty)," Treaties and Regimes, Nuclear Threat Initiative, www.nti.org.
[40] Pavel Podvig, Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2004), pp. 110-135.
[41] Steven J. Zaloga, The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword: The Rise and Fall of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces, 1945-2000, Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002), p. 215.
[42] Pavel Podvig, Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2004), p. 135; "Last Ukraine Silo Destroyed," Deseret News, 30 October 2001, www.deseretnews.com.
[43] Mary Beth Nikitin and Amy Woolf, "Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests," Congressional Research Service, 08 July 2013.
[44] Pavel Podvig, "Russia's Nuclear Forces: Between Disarmament and Modernization," Proliferation Papers, Security Studies Center, 2011, p.9.
[45] Steven J. Zaloga, The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword: The Rise and Fall of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces, 1945-2000, Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002), p. 220.
[46] Steven J. Zaloga, The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword: The Rise and Fall of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces, 1945-2000, Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002), p. 221.
[47] Mark B. Scheider, "Russian Nuclear Modernization," Talking Points from Remarks made to an Air Force Association, National Institute for Public Policy, 20 June 2012, p. 1.
[48] Statement by Richard H. Spier before the Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate. 5 June 1997.
[49] Wade Boese, "Russia Halts Missile Launch Notices," Arms Control Today, Arms Control Association, March 2008, www.armscontrol.org.
[50] Wade Boese, "Russia Halts Missile Launch Notices," Arms Control Today, Arms Control Association, March 2008, www.armscontrol.org.
[51] Wade Boese, "Russia Halts Missile Launch Notices," Arms Control Today, Arms Control Association, March 2008, www.armscontrol.org.
[52] Frank A. Rose, "Remarks: Implementation of the European Phased Adaptive Approach," US Department of State, 18 April 2013, www.state.gov.
[53] "Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD)," US Missile Defense Agency, Undated, www.mda.mil.
[54] "Russian Strategic Subs to Resume Routine World Patrols," Ria Novosti, 4 February 2012, en.rian.ru.
[55] Hans Kristensen, "Russian Strategic Submarine Patrols Rebound," FAS Strategic Security Blog, 17 February 2009, blog.fas.org.
[56] "Three Nuclear Subs to Join Russian Navy by Yearend," RIA Novosti, 23 April 2013, en.rian.ru.
[57] "Russia's Northern Fleet Deploys New Borey-Class Nuclear Subs," RIA Novosti, 30 December 2013, en.rian.ru.
[58] "Russia to Lay Down Two Improved Borey Class Subs in 2013," RIA Novosti, 14 January 2013, en.rian.ru.
[59] "Russia Mulls New Rail-Based Missile Launcher," Global Security Newswire, 26 April 2013, www.nti.org.
[60] "Russia prepares replacement for soviet-era railway-based missiles," RT News, 23 April 2013, rt.com.
[61] "Russia to Field 30 Times More Cruise Missiles by 2020," RIA Novosti, 05 July 2013, en.ria.ru.
[62] "Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments," U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, July 2014.
[63] Michael R. Gordon, "U.S. Says Russia Tested Cruise Missile, Violating Treaty," The New York Times, July 28, 2014, www.nytimes.com.
[64] Michael R. Gordon, "U.S. Says Russia Tested Cruise Missile, Violating Treaty," The New York Times, July 28, 2014, www.nytimes.com.
[65] "Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments," U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, July 2014.
[66] Jeffrey Lewis, "An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile by any Other Name," Foreign Policy, April 25, 2014, www.foreignpolicy.com.
[67] Jeffrey Lewis, "An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile by any Other Name," Foreign Policy, April 25, 2014, www.foreignpolicy.com.
[68] Jeffrey Lewis, "An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile by any Other Name," Foreign Policy, April 25, 2014, www.foreignpolicy.com.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

Get the Facts on Russia

  • 8,500 to 10,000 nuclear warheads, including approximately 3,000 awaiting dismantlement
  • Pursued a covert biological weapons program during the Soviet era while a state party to the BTWC
  • Scheduled to complete destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile by December 2015