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Ballistic Missile Numbers Fall Worldwide

File photo: ICBM Peacekeeper.
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 29, 2006
The number of ballistic missiles in service has dropped drastically since the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, reported Monday. Since then, the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, in service has been reduced by half from about 4,000 to about 2,000.

Intermediate range ballistic missiles, or IRBMs, with a range of 1,800 miles to 3,000 miles, have declined over 95 percent, the report said. There are only 20 such systems in service with China and India today, it said.

The number of MRBMs, or medium range ballistic missiles, with a range of 600 miles to 1,800 miles in use, have declined about a quarter. MRBMs have been the favorite with North Korea, China and Iran because they are adequate for attacking neighbors. Today there are some 400 MRBMs in service, said.

However, SRBMs, or short range ballistic missiles, with a range of under 600 miles, may not have declined in number, the report said. It's uncertain how many are still in use because there are still so many Cold War era SCUD missiles around.

"Many of these missiles are rotting away in North Korean, Iranian and various other Middle Eastern warehouses. There are a lot of them sitting around in Russia, but not in usable form. Several nations are designing and building new SRBMs (especially North Korea, Iran, China)," said.

"There are at least several thousand ... SRBMs out there. The best of them are not SCUDs, but more modern designs from China. There's a lot of work going on developing new missiles," it said. Last year, there were nearly a hundred test launches, most of them "for smaller missiles."

Source: United Press International

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