Russia fires RS-24 multi-warhead ICBM, countering US missile-shield in Europe

Thanks, Mr. Bush et.al. 

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile Tuesday that is capable of carrying multiple independent warheads, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces said.

The missile, called the RS-24, was fired from a mobile launcher in northwestern Russia and its test warhead landed on target some 5,500 kilometres away on the Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, a statement from the forces said.

The new missile is seen as eventually replacing the aging RS-18s and RS-20s that are the backbone of Russia’s missile forces, the statement said. Those missiles are known in the West as the SS-19 Stiletto and the SS-18 Satan.

The statement said the RS-24 conforms with terms laid down in the START-I treaty and the 2002 Moscow Treaty, which call for a reduction in nuclear the warhead arsenals of Russian and the United States to 1,700 to 2,000 warheads.

The RS-24 “strengthens the capability of the attack groups of the Strategic Missile Forces by surmounting anti-missile defence systems, at the same time strengthening the potential for nuclear deterrence,” the statement said.

The new missile would probably be more capable of penetrating missile defense systems than previous models, according to Alexander Pikayev, a senior analyst at the Moscow-based Institute for World Economy and International Relations.

He said its development was probably “inevitable” after the U.S. withdrew from the Soviet-era Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty in 2002 in order to deploy a national missile defense shield.

Russia adamantly opposes U.S. efforts to deploy elements of a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. The United States says the system is aimed at blocking possible attacks by countries such as North Korea and Iran, but Russia says the system would destroy the strategic balance of forces in Europe.

Via Guardian.co.uk

29/05/2007 16:00 MOSCOW, May 29 (RIA Novosti) – Russia successfully test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia Tuesday, a press spokesman for the strategic missile forces said.

The RS-24 with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) warheads was launched from a mobile missile system at 2:20 p.m. Moscow time (10:20 a.m. GMT).

“The targets have been reached and objectives achieved completely,” Vadim Koval said, adding that the ICBM’s destination was a testing ground in Kamchatka, in the Far East.

Koval said the new ICBM met all international requirements in terms of strategic offensive arms reduction and was capable of avoiding missile defense systems and, consequently, would enhance Russia’s nuclear deterrent potential when deployed.

The test comes against the background of growing tensions between Moscow and the West regarding plans by the United States to deploy elements of its global antiballistic missile defense system in Central Europe.

Although Washington claims the move is needed to counter possible attacks from “rogue states,” Moscow has condemned the plans as a threat to its national security and a destabilizing factor for Europe.

Via Global Security.