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Russia to deploy new missile from 2009: military

The RS-24, a multiple-warhead, nuclear-capable missile.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Nov 28, 2008
Russia will from December 2009 deploy its new RS-24 intercontinental missile, designed to counter defence systems like the controversial US missile shield, the military announced Friday.

The announcement of the deployment of the RS-24, a multiple-warhead, nuclear-capable missile, came amid continued disagreement between Moscow and Washington over US missile defence plans.

"It is expected the new missile complex including the RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile will be deployed with Russian forces from 2009," Nikolai Solovtsov, the commander of Russia's missile forces, told Russian news agencies.

"It is planned that the main regiment equipped with this missile... and one squadron will be put on combat duty in the Teikovo missile unit in December 2009," he said, referring to a base northeast of Moscow.

The military on Wednesday successfully test-fired the RS-24 for the third time, launching it from northern Russia and hitting targets 6,000 kilometres (4,000 miles) away on the Kamchatka Peninsula that juts into the Pacific Ocean.

The earlier tests took place in May and December 2007. Experts and Russian news agencies have said the missile is capable of carrying three nuclear warheads.

The military has said the RS-24 is designed to overcome air-defence systems such as the controversial US missile shield planned for deployment in eastern Europe.

Moscow has repeatedly expressed its fury over the plans of outgoing US President George W. Bush to place a missile defence radar system in the Czech Republic and linked interceptor missiles in Poland.

President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have urged Barack Obama to drop the plans when he takes over the White House in January but the US president-elect has yet to reveal his intentions.

The RS-24 is a new missile which builds on the technologies of Russia's Topol-M missile but has the novelty of multiple independently targetable warheads, according to the Russian military.

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