Medvedev to Discuss Iskander Missile Production Modernization

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will hold a meeting in Kolomna in the Moscow Region on Monday to discuss modernizing production facilities for Iskander tactical missile launchers, the government’s press office reported on Sunday.

The meeting will be held on the premises of the Kolomna Machine-Building Design Bureau and will also be attended by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, heads of core ministries and departments and defense enterprises.

Russia is currently building and modernizing the production capacities of 17 core enterprises for the serial production and deliveries of Iskander-M tactical missile launchers. Total investments from the federal budget and the enterprises’ own funds are estimated at 40 billion rubles ($1.25 billion).

The Iskander-M system (NATO reporting name SS-26 Stone) is a mobile theater missile system equipped with two solid-propellant single-stage 9M723K1 guided missiles with “quasi-ballistic” capability.

The missiles have a range of 400 km (250 miles) and can reportedly carry conventional and nuclear warheads.

Moscow reiterated in late April it may deploy Iskander theater ballistic missiles in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad that will be capable of effectively engaging elements of the U.S. missile defense system in Poland.

The missile defense system in Poland does not jeopardize Russia’s nuclear forces, Army General Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, previously said.

“However, if it is modernized…it could affect our nuclear capability and in that case a political decision may be made to deploy Iskander systems in the Kaliningrad region,” he said.

“But that will be a political decision,” he stressed. “So far there is no such need.”

NATO members agreed to create a missile shield over Europe to protect it against ballistic missiles launched by so-called rogue states, for example Iran and North Korea, at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2010.

Russia has strongly criticized NATO’s reluctance to provide written, legally binding guarantees that its European missile shield will not be directed against Moscow.

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