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Russia test launches RS-18 ICBM from Baikonur

Posted by Kris Roman on October 22, 2008


rs-18-icbmRussia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) have successfully launched an RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) intercontinental ballistic missile from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, the SMF said on Wednesday.

As a result of the successful launch at 13.10 Moscow time (09:10 GMT) on Wednesday, the Stiletto ICBMs, which have so far been operational for 29 years, will remain on combat duty beyond 2010.

“The launch confirmed the decision to extend the service life of one of our most reliable missile complexes,” the SMF said in a statement.

Russia’s SMF regularly launch missiles to test their performance characteristics and decide whether they can remain in service.

Over the past five years Russia conducted 31 test launches of RS-12M (SS-25 Sickle), R-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) and RS-20 (SS-18 Satan) ICBMs and will double the number of test launches after 2009.

Russia extended the service life of the Stiletto missile to 31 years following a successful test launch in October 2007.

The missile has a combat range exceeding 9,600 km [more than 6,000 miles] and is considered to be highly reliable.

Over 100 silo-based Stilettos are currently in service with the SMF, with each missile carrying six 550-kiloton warheads.

RS-18 will be gradually replaced by new RS-24 ICBMs, equipped with MIRV warheads and characterized by its high missile-defense penetration capability.


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