Russia could test-fire a new intercontinental ballistic missile this year, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday, citing a well placed defense industry insider.
The solid-fueled RS-26 ICBM is intended to take the place of the Topol-M and Yars strategic missiles.
The experimental extended-range missile probably will be outfitted with a new warhead and technology that will allow it to defeat antimissile systems, an anonymous missile specialist told the Vedomosti newspaper.
Moscow has repeatedly said it is developing new technologies that can undermine U.S. missile defenses planned for fielding in Europe over the coming years. The Kremlin suspects the missile shield Washington is helping NATO to construct will be secretly aimed at undermining Russian long-range nuclear missiles.
Technical specifications for the RS-26 are not publicly available but the fifth-generation missile is thought to have roughly the same size as the submarine-launched Bulava ballistic missile, according to the Israeli defense publication Defense Update. The new ICBM reportedly can be outfitted with a solitary warhead or with multiple independent reentry vehicles.
In June, Russian Col. Gen. Vladimir Zarudnitskiy, chief of the General Staff's Main Operational Directorate, said an initial quantity of RS-26s would be deployed next year with Russia's strategic missile forces after five test-launches of the weapon are carried out this year.