Russia has tested a new warhead that analysts believe is designed to evade the antimissile systems of NATO, the Washington Times reported on Wednesday.
A mobile SS-25 intercontinental ballistic missile fitted with the new warhead design was fired on Tuesday from a test complex in southern Russia to a target range in Kazakhstan.
"The purpose of the launch was to test a prospective warhead of intercontinental ballistic missiles," Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov was quoted by the state-run Interfax news agency as saying.
Security specialists say the test shows Russia is making good on its previous warnings that it would pursue new capabilities to counter missile defense systems that the United States is deploying in Europe.
Mark Schneider, a former nuclear-strategy official at the Pentagon, noted that Russian news reports about the next Topol-M land-based strategic missile and the submarine-launched Bulava missile describe how both weapons are to be fitted with as many as 10 advanced warheads and "hypersonic vehicles."
Meanwhile, the head of the Russian air force on Thursday said the service is expected to begin initial deployments of a new strategic bomber in 2023, RIA Novosti reported.
"The maiden flight should be performed in 2019," Lt. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said. "State tests and supplies will be completed in 2023."
It had previously been reported that the air force could begin receiving the future-generation PAK-DA aircraft no later than 2020.
The new bomber is anticipated to be designed to evade and neutralize advanced air defense systems.