Russia is increasing the pace of updating its deployed long-range nuclear arsenal, the head of the military's strategic missile forces told reporters on Tuesday.
Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev said for the "first time in two decades we are going to exceed the limits of only two missile divisions rearmament," the Xinhua News Agency reported. "In 2013, we will rearm missile regiments in three divisions and prepare for rearmament of two more missile divisions."
Sophisticated fifth-generation Yars and Topol-M ICBMs are fielded in Russia's center with four regiments of the Teikovo missile division, the commander said. Deployment of new ICBM units to missile divisions in Kaluga, South Siberia, Novosibirsk, and Saratov also began this year.
"Thus, the rearmament program of the strategic missile forces with Topol-M system will be completed," Karakayev proclaimed.
The Yars missile can travel in excess of 6,800 miles while the heavier Topol-M ICBM can hit targets approximately 6,200 miles away.
Russia has approved spending in excess of $600 billion to 2020 for modernizing its military.
The Russian government has also authorized creation of a next-generation long-range nuclear missile to supplant the RS-20V Voyevoda, which is anticipated to be fully retired by 2026.