Russia's military has placed its first next-generation RS-24 ICBM on active duty, ITAR-Tass reported yesterday (see GSN, Jan. 15).
The RS-24 Yars missile was designed by the Moscow Heat Engineering Institute, the organization that created the Topol-M ICBM, now in use, and the experimental Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile.
The Bulava has failed in seven of 12 flight tests to date, most recently in December, according to official figures. However, Russia's armed forces have continued defending the weapon as an irreplaceable component of the country's future nuclear deterrent (see GSN, June 15).
“All journalists are writing about Bulava, but are saying little about the new mobile missile system RS-24 Yars with multiple warheads that we created at the same time,” said Yuri Solomonov, who heads the Russian institute.
Topol-M and RS-24 ICBMs would together form "the backbone of the attack group of the [Russian] strategic rocket forces,” Lt. Gen. Andrei Shvaichenko, who leads the forces, said last year (ITAR-Tass, June 30).