Defense One is reporting that the Russian military test fired an RS-24 Yars intercontinental missile on Wednesday Sept 20th. The missile also known as Topol’-MR is one of Russia’s newest ICBM’s. Washington is insisting the missile is a variant of the Topol M which is forbidden under arms-control treaties. Russia denies the claim and says it’s a new missile.
The New START Treaty, which limited the number of nuclear weapons the U.S. and Russia could build and deploy, was signed in 2010. Hans M. Kristensen of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientist says, “Russia now has 259 warheads more deployed than when the treaty entered into force in 2011”.
Both Washington and Moscow are modernizing their nuclear arsenals, but military leaders worry that Russia is ahead.
The Russian military on Wednesday test-fired an RS-24 Yars, one of their newest intercontinental ballistic missiles, Russian state media sources reported.
Launch of an RS-24 Yars Intercontinental Ballistic Missile in Plesetsk, #Russia today. pic.twitter.com/4Xq1B6TmGh
— Mikhail D. (@Eire_QC) September 20, 2017
The solid-fueled ICBM, “equipped with a detachable warhead, arrived at the designated area on the Kura test range on the Kamchatka Peninsula at the state-owned Plesetsk Test Space Cosmodrome with the Yoshkar-Ola missile connection,” Russia’s Ministry of Defense announced via TASS.
Russia and the United States are both working to modernize their ICBMs, each to the chagrin of the other.
In 2010, the countries signed the New START Treaty, ostensibly limiting the number of nuclear weapons each could build and deploy. But Russia has continued to increase its stock of warheads, even as it hews to the treaty limit of 700 launchers, says Hans M. Kristensen, who runs the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.
“The aggregate data shows that Russia has continued to increase its deployed strategic warheads since 2013 when it reached its lowest level of 1,400 warheads. Russian strategic launchers now carry 396 warheads more,” Kristensen wrote in October. “Overall, Russia has increased its deployed strategic warheads by 259 warheads since New START entered into force in 2011. Although it looks bad, it has no negative implications for strategic stability.”
Still, even the designation of the missile is in dispute, as Russia calls it a brand-new missile while the U.S. insists that it is a variant of the Topol M, forbidden under arms-control treaties.
Russian efforts to improve their ICBMs are spooking many in Washington, where the purchase of a new ICBM is being contemplated. The Air Force has already awarded Boeing and Northrop Grumman contracts for preliminary technology, although Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says no final decision has been made to replace today’s Minuteman III missiles.
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