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Russia Developing Next-Gen ICBM To Replace ‘Yars’ Missile System?

Russia will begin the development of the Kedr new-generation intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by 2023-2024. It will replace the solid-fuelled Yars ICBM system by 2030, according to reports.

Russian Defense Ministry officials told news agency TASS that the research work on Kedr has been financed under the current state arms procurement program until 2027. Technological development will begin in 2023-2024.

Like its predecessors, the new system will also have mobile and silo-based modifications. It is believed that the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology (MITTS), will be tasked with the design and development of the Kedr ICBM.

Earlier, MITT had developed Topol, Topol-M, and Yars strategic missile systems that are currently in service with the Russian armed forces.

The RS-24 Yars or Topol-MR, (NATO reporting name: SS-29 or SS-27 Mod 2) is a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV)-equipped, thermonuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missile. It was first tested on May 29, 2007. The latest variant, Yars-S, is believed to have been deployed in November 2019.

Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), a bilateral treaty between the United States and Russia, imposes verifiable limits on all Russian deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons.

According to the US government, “New START limits all Russian deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons, including every Russian nuclear warhead that is loaded onto an intercontinental-range ballistic missile that can reach the United States in approximately 30 minutes.”

As of September 1, 2020, Russia declared the deployment of 1,447 strategic warheads. Russia has the capacity to deploy many more than 1,550 warheads on its modernized ICBMs and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), as well as heavy bombers, but is constrained from doing so by New START, the US government claims.

In contrast, Washington declared in March 2019 that it had deployed 1,365 warheads on 656 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers.

The increase in the number of Russian warheads is seen as a violation of this treaty. Moscow, however, claims that the RS-24 was a completely new ICBM to justify the designation SS-29 instead of SS-27 Mod 2, to circumvent treaty prohibition.

Although the actual maximum capacity of each missile is not clear, it is believed that a single missile can carry up to four warheads.

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