"This year we will continue test and combat-training launches of new types of warheads for the Topol-M and Bulava sea-launched missile complexes," Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said.
He said previously a second missile battalion, equipped with advanced Topol-M (SS-27) road-mobile ICBMs, will be put on combat duty before the end of the year and that the deployment of silo-based Topol-M systems in the Saratov Region and road-mobile systems in the Ivanovo Region (central Russia) would be completed in 2010.
As of December 2006, the Strategic Missile Forces operated 44 silo-based and three mobile missile systems.
The commander said the Topol-M system will be equipped with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV) in the next two or three years, adding that the new system would help penetrate missile defenses more effectively.
His statement came against the backdrop of growing tensions between Moscow and the West regarding plans by the United States to deploy elements of its global antiballistic missile defense system in Central Europe.
Gen. Solovtsov said the Strategic Missile Forces would factor in the new threats.
"If the U.S. proceeds with missile defense plans, despite serious opposition from people in Europe, the Strategic Missile Forces will manage to take adequate measures to counter threats to Russia," he said.
The national defense program envisions the deployment of Bulava-M sea-launched ballistic missiles on nuclear submarines. The missiles are expected to become the mainstay of the Russian Navy's strategic nuclear forces in decades to come.
The Russian Armed Forces commissioned more than 30 new types of advanced weapon systems in the first half of 2007, the defense minister said last month.
Anatoly Serdyukov said these weapon systems included the submarine-launched R-29RM Sineva ballistic missiles, the S-400 Triumf air defense complex, and the 120-mm Nona SM-1 towed mortar for Ground Forces.
Serdykov also said Russia conducted test launches of the Yarts land-based ballistic missile, the X-102 airborne missile, and a new version of the Iskander-M ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads, and launched two military reconnaissance and communication satellites.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.