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Russia Test-Fires RS-18 Stiletto

The Interfax news agency said that Soviet Union's Strategic Rocket Forces adopted the RS-18 missiles, also known as SS-19 (pictured), in 1975, and then in 1980 adopted the modernized version.

Washington (UPI) Oct 25, 2005
Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces test fired an intercontinental ballistic missile from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan last Thursday, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

The RS-18 Stiletto missile was launched at 11:30 a.m. Moscow time and hit its target on the Kura training range on Kamchatka Peninsula, the Itar-Tass news agency quoted a source of the Defense Ministry as saying.

"The launch was made under the plan of combat training of the Russian Armed Forces with the purpose of assessing the possibility of extending the life of this type of ballistic missiles," the source said.

The RS-18 missiles have been on combat duty for 30 years, and the Stiletto is considered to be very reliable, said the source, adding that the missile's launches in recent years have proved the dependability of the Stiletto and made it possible to extend their life by 20 years.

The RS-18, a two-stage rocket, is one of the most advanced ballistic missiles of Russia. With the launch weight of slightly above 105 tons, the Stiletto is capable of delivering multiple or single warheads weighing as much as 9,260 pounds to an intercontinental range.

The missile, which is around 75 feet long and eight feet in diameter, is equipped with a modern control system and anti-missile defense penetration aids, Itar-Tass reported.

The Interfax news agency said that Soviet Union's Strategic Rocket Forces adopted the RS-18 missiles, also known as SS-19, in 1975, and then in 1980 adopted the modernized version.

The Strategic Missile Troops have more than 160 RS-18s, each with six Multiple Independently-Targeted Reentry Vehicles, or MIRV warheads that can overwhelm the new anti-ballistic missile system being deployed by the United States, which is not designed to protect against this kind of attack. The RS-18 has a range of more than 6,000 miles.

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