Russia is planning to develop a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by 2020 through the state arms procurement programme, Bulava missile designer Yury Solomonov said.

Solomonov said the final decision will be made in 2012-13 by the expert community, not solely the Defence Ministry.

“This matter is beyond the Defense Ministry’s competence. It is a matter of state importance,” he said.

The 35m-long heavy ICBM belongs to a class of missiles with a heavy throw weight between 5-9t.

The missile will be capable of delivering a large number of warheads in a single multiple independent re-entry vehicle missile, according to Ria Novosti.

Russia’s strategic missile forces are equipped with SS-18 Satan and SS-20 Saber ICBMs with an extended service life and are expected to remain in service until 2026.