A second regiment of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), equipped with Topol-M mobile missile systems, will be put on combat service by the end of 2009, continuing Russia’s efforts to modernise the nuclear triad.

Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) missiles are the central cohesive source of support and stability for the land-based component of country’s nuclear triad.

SMF Commander Lieutenant General Andrei Shvaichenko said that the SMF would complete the rearmament of the second missile regiment in the Teikovo division with mobile Topol-M systems.

The first Topol-M mobile missile regiment is in combat service with the 54th Strategic Missile Division near Teikovo, around 240km north-east of Moscow.

A sixth regiment of silo-based Topol-M systems will be put into service with the Tatishchevo Missile Division near Saratov in south-western Russia in 2010, Shvaichenko said.

The Topol-M missile has a range of 11,000km and is capable of making evasive actions to stay clear from threats by using terminal phase interceptors.

Topol-M is designed to withstand laser technology hits and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys.

It is also shielded against radiation, electromagnetic pulse, nuclear blasts and is said to be highly secure against any current and future US anti-ballistic missile.

Currently, six types of silo-based and mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) systems are on combat duty with the SMF, including the heavy Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan) capable of carrying ten warheads, and the Topol-M systems.

As of the beginning of 2009 the SMF operated 50 silo-based and six road-mobile Topol-M missile systems.

Russia will continue work to extend the service life of the SS-18 missiles to 31 years and the SS-25 Topol and RS-20B missiles to 23 years, Shvaichenko said.