Re-Arming Russia

RS-24 Yars mobile launcher on parade. (Shutterstock photo)

RS-24 Yars mobile launcher on parade.
(Shutterstock photo)

Russia is about to deploy another 40 modern nuclear missiles, for a two-year total of almost 80:

Russia will boost its nuclear arsenal with 40 new ballistic missiles this year, President Vladimir Putin told the crowd at an arms show today, while pledging to continue modernizing his country’s arms capacity in the face of a faltering economy.

Speaking at the convention, which took place at a shooting range west of Moscow, Putin said that the new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) will be able to overcome anti-missile defense systems.

“Over 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of penetrating any, even the most technologically advanced missile defense systems, will join the nuclear forces in the current year,” Putin said on Tuesday.

According to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, last year the country added 38 ICBMs.


The story doesn’t mention which ICBMs Moscow is deploying, but they’re probably the RS-24 Yars capable of carrying between four and ten MIRV warheads each. The RS-24 was first tested in 2007 and first deployed in 2010. The Russians always claim it has been designed to penetrate US missile defense, but of course they haven’t ever had a real-world test of that capability — and let us hope they never do. Best as I can figure from public sources, this most recent deployment will give Moscow about 110 fully modern land-based ICBMs to compliment its aging force of Topol, UR-100N, and RS-36 missiles, for a total of around 354.

In contrast, our entire land-based missile force is 450 active (soon to be 400) LGM-30 Minuteman III missiles, first developed in 1966 and first deployed in 1970. The last Minuteman was rolled off the assembly line in 1978, the same year Grease came to the big screen.

The most recent US President to take our land-based deterrence force seriously was Ronald Reagan, who is of course still vilified by the left for it, and who left office more than a quarter century ago.



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