The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to equip additional two strategic missile forces (SMF) regiments with Yars mobile ballistic missile systems by the end of 2013, the country's defence minister Sergei Shoigu has revealed.
Shoigu was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying that the missiles will initially be tested in the Novosibirsk Missile Division, based in Siberia.
''We are facing an important task - to preserve the balance of the strategic deterrence system, which makes the maintenance and timely re-equipment of the strategic nuclear forces a key area of military development,'' Shoigu said.
Even though Shoigu refused to disclose the location of deployment, Novosibirsk-based 39th Guards Rocket Division is expected to be armed with the mobile Yars systems, while the 28th Guards Rocket Division at Kozelsk in central Russia, will receive a silo-based variant of the system, according to the plans announced earlier by the defence ministry.
Russia currently has two operational Yars regiments at the Teikovo Missile Division, each containing three battalions, each in turn is armed with three missile systems and several mobile command posts, according to the news agency.
The first Yars regiment was put on combat duty in central Russia in August 2011, while the second was deployed in December of the same year.
Also known as SS-29, the RS-24 Yars is a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV)-equipped, thermonuclear ballistic missile, designed to replace Russia's ageing R-36 and UR-100N intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
Capable of carrying multiple warheads, the missile features better combat and operational capabilities than the Topol-M missile.
According to the SMF, the Topol-M and RS-24 ballistic missiles will form the core of the ground-based component of Russian nuclear weaponry and will account for 80% of its arsenal by 2016.
Image: An RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles intercontinental ballistic missile being launched. Photo: courtesy of www.kap-yar.ru.