The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) will develop a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by 2018, Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) commander colonel general Sergei Karakayev has revealed.
Karakayev was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying that the production is currently underway and is expected to be complete by 2018.
According to the general, the new silo-launched missile will weigh 100t and possess a greater payload-launch weight ratio compared with a solid fuel missile.
Missile production was first announced by the Russian MoD in May 2011, as an asymmetric response to the proposed deployment of the US led Nato antimissile shield (AMD) in Europe, which Moscow considers a threat.
The missile is scheduled to replace the SMF's existing inventory of 76 R-36M2 Voyevoda, which entered operational service in 1988.
Russia's current solid-propellant ICBMs are deemed incapable by the ministry in penetrating the hypothetical AMD, which the US maintains is aimed at countering potential missile threats from rogue states, such as Iran and North Korea.
Explaining the missile characteristics, Karakayev told PrisonPlane: ''Speaking about combat effectiveness, it is necessary to note the new missiles' ability to be invulnerable before launch thanks to their mobility, as well as their ability to tackle the task of defeating any possible missile defence system within the next 15-20 years, should such a need arise.''
Currently, Moscow possesses more than 400 ICBMs in its inventory, which include 171 Topol (SS-25), 70 Topol-M (SS-27), and three RS-24 Yars missiles.