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Russia to deploy regiment of RS-24 ballistic missiles in late 2009


MOSCOW, May 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will put the first regiment of new-generation RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles into service in late 2009, the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) commander said on Thursday.

"We plan to put the first regiment of mobile [RS-24] missile systems equipped with multiple re-entry vehicle warheads into service by the end of this year," Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said.

The RS-24 ICBM, which will replace the older SS-18 and SS-19 missiles by 2050, is expected to greatly strengthen the SMF's strike capability, as well as that of its allies until the mid-21st century, Solovtsov said.

The missile will be deployed both in silos and on mobile platforms, and together with the Topol-M single-warhead ICBM will constitute the core of Russia's SMF in the future, he added.

He also said the SMF would conduct at least 14 missile test launches, including space launches, in 2009.

"We are planning 14 launches for various purposes, including the testing of missile components and warheads, the extension of missiles' service life, and space launches," Solovtsov said.

The SMF reportedly has a total of 538 ICBMs, including 306 SS-25 Sickle (Topol) missiles, 88 SS-18 Satan (Voyevoda) and 56 SS-27 Stalin (Topol-M) missiles.

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