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Topol-M, Bulava missiles to be core of Russian nuclear triad


BALABANOVO (Russia), June 10 (RIA Novosti) - Topol-M and Bulava ballistic missiles will constitute the backbone of Russia's nuclear triad, a senior defense ministry official said on Wednesday.

Russia's nuclear triad comprises land-based ballistic missile systems, nuclear-powered submarines equipped with sea-based ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers carrying nuclear bombs and nuclear-capable cruise missiles.

"Topol-M and Bulava ballistic missile systems will be the core of the Russian nuclear triad," said Maj. Gen. Alexander Shevchenko, in charge of Armed Forces' armaments maintenance and support.

At present, six types of silo-based and mobile ICBM system of the fourth and the fifth generation, including the heavy Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan), capable of carrying 10 warheads, and the Topol-M (Stalin) systems, are on combat duty with the Strategic Missile Forces.

According to open sources, the total arsenal of Russia's SMF comprises 538 ICBMs, including 306 SS-25 Topol (Sickle) missiles and 56 SS-27 Topol-M missiles.

In line with a new military doctrine, Russia will completely modernize the naval component of its nuclear triad by 2016.

Fourth-generation Borey-class nuclear-powered submarines armed with Bulava ballistic missiles will form the core of Russia's fleet of modern strategic submarines.

Shevchenko said the Russian Navy would commission two Borey-class nuclear submarines, Yury Dolgoruky and Alexander Nevsky, in the near future.

Each submarine is capable of carrying up to 16 Bulava-M ballistic missiles.

Russia will also modernize and expand its fleet of strategic bombers and create a national air-and-space defense network.

According to various sources, the Russian Air Force currently deploys 141 Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers, 40 Tu-95MS Bear bombers, and 14 Tu-160 Blackjack planes.

Russia plans to build at least one new Tu-160 bomber every one or two years to increase the number of available aircraft to 30.

Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said in February that Russia would continue developing and modernizing its nuclear triad despite the current global economic crisis.

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