Russia Completes Tests of a New Ballistic Missile
Russia has confirmed that it had finished testing a new silo-based short-range ballistic missile on Oct. 18.
The new missile, the Iskander-M, is a tactical missile carrying a conventional warhead.
The Iskander-M is designed to destroy battlefield targets such as artillery, rocket launchers, command and communications centers, and aircraft and helicopters parked at airfields.
Maj. Gen. Oleg Kislov, head of the Kapustin Yar testing range at Russia’s Dombarovsky missile base, said the Iskander-M missile hit its target at the Kura testing range on the Kamchatka Peninsula.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, this launch marked the completion of a series of tests of Iskander system at the Kapustin Yar testing range.
“The completion of the testing of a new missile for the Iskander system is among the most significant events that happened recently,” Kislov told state news agency RIA Novosti.
Activity has increased at the Dumbrowsky base this year. Kislov claimed that more than 160 projects, representing every branch of the Russian armed forces, were being worked on at the base in Russia’s Orenburg region.
“In addition, intense effort is underway to modernize the training ground’s testing facilities, new facilities are being built and the old ones are being modernized,” Kislov concluded.
Skirting INF Regulations
The Iskander-M, with a claimed range of about 250 miles and a payload of 1,543 pounds, does not violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). However, the missile is nuclear-capable.
The Iskander effectively replaces Russia’s Oka-class nuclear missile, which was banned by the INF treaty.
An earlier test, reported by the state-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, claimed that an Iskander-M launched from a site in Astrakhan traveled 300 miles to a test range in Kazakhstan, confirming that the Iskander missile is accurate out to its maximum potential range of 310 miles.
Stepped-Up Missile Development
Russia has completed more than 50 ballistic missile launches so far in 2017.
Col. Gen. Sergey Karakayev, commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, announced in December that Russia has also been developing new heavy-class thermonuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, called Sarmat.
According to media reports, the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant is ready to start mass production of the new super-heavy thermonuclear armed missiles.
The new nuclear missile is expected to be online in 2019 or 2020.