Russia’s Strategic Missile Troops commander Sergei Karakayev told the Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) newspaper, affiliated with the Russian Defense Ministry, that the troops will double missile tests in 2018, bumping up their number to twelve.
“Five missile launches were carried out in 2017, with another one pending, and 12 launches have been planned for 2018,” Karakayev said.
He added that the country’s Strategic Missile Troops will receive over 20 stationary and mobile Yars missile launchers next year. The general said earlier that the troops transition to Yars missiles will be completed by 2026.
The RS-24 Yars (NATO reporting name SS-27 Mod 2) was introduced into service in July 2010. It is an upgraded version of the Topol-M ballistic missile that can be fired both from a mobile launcher and silo. It carries ICBMs with multiple independently targetable nuclear warheads and has a range of 6,800 miles.
According to the commander, Strategic Missile Troops will maintain the Voyevoda ballistic missile system until 2024 and is mulling ways of extending its operability by a few more years.
“There are plans to keep the missile complex in service until 2024… Plans have also been made to extend its service time until 2025-2027,” Karakayev said.
The Russian military was reported to be preparing to replace its mainstay RS-20V Voyevoda ballistic missiles next year with a more advanced ICBM called Sarmat. RS-28 Sarmat missiles will be tested by the end of 2017, according to Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov.