Topol ballistic missiles may stay in service until 2019

The service life of Topol mobile ballistic missile systems could be extended until 2019, Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev said on Friday.


“The road-mobile Topol missile systems may remain in service with the SMF until 2019,” Karakayev said at a meeting with SMF veterans. “The evaluation of its [Topol missile] reliability and technical condition allows us to consider further extension of its service life.”


The RS-12M Topol (SS-25 Sickle) is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile, approximately the same size and shape as the U.S. Minuteman ICBM. The first Topol missiles entered service in 1985.


The missile has a maximum range of 10,000 km (6,125 miles) and can carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of 550 kilotons.


Although the service life of the SS-25 (originally 10 years) is being periodically extended, the missile will be progressively retired over the next decade and replaced by mobile Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) and RS-24 Yars missile systems.


As of August 2011, the SMF operated at least 171 road-mobile Topol missile systems, 50 silo-based and 18 road-mobile Topol-M systems, and nine RS-24 systems.


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