Russia will test launch a controversial missile over the next several weeks that U.S. officials say is raising new concerns about Moscow’s growing strategic nuclear arsenal and Russia’s potential violations of arms treaties.
The RS-26 missile is expected to be deployed with multiple supersonic, maneuvering warheads designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses in Europe, U.S. officials told Inside the Ring.
“The Russians are advertising this as a system capable of defeating U.S. missile defenses in Europe,” the aide said. “At the same time, the State Department is accepting Russia’s claim that this is an ICBM and doesn’t violate INF. It can’t be both.”
The Air Force National Space and Missile Intelligence Center reported recently that Russia’s June 6 test of an RS-26 was a test-firing of an intermediate-range missile disguised as an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The new missile will be equipped with three multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles, or MIRVs. What is new is that the warheads are super-high-speed vehicles capable of maneuvering from missile interceptors. The maneuvering warheads are considered advanced technology that will increase the precision targeting of the missile system.
The missile also reportedly will be equipped with a high-performance fuel that boosts acceleration shortly after launch, a feature useful for avoiding anti-missile interceptors.
The RS-26 will add to Russia’s formidable and growing arsenal, which includes SS-27 and SS-29 road-mobile, solid-fuel missiles; a new submarine-launched nuclear missile called Bulava; and plans for a new silo-based ICBM. Russia also announced plans to build rail-mobile ICBMs that were deployed during the Soviet-era and later dismantled.
Under the 2010 U.S.-Russia New START, both countries are to reduce deployed strategic warheads to 1,550. The treaty, however, does not prohibit Russia’s development and deployment of new strategic missile systems and weapons.
ISRAELI STRIKE COMING?
Talks in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program are triggering fears within U.S. intelligence agencies that Israel is hardening its stance on Iran and could conduct a military attack to stave off what the Jewish state believes is a delaying tactic for Tehran to buy time to build nuclear weapons.
The clearest indicator of growing Israeli concerns, according to defense officials, is the recent large-scale Israeli air force drill Tuesday in the northern part of the country. The exercises along the northern border and over the Mediterranean were considered unusually large.
An Israeli defense source told Israel’s Walla! news outlet: “Changes have recently occurred in the Middle East. The [Israeli Defense Force] is preparing for those changes in both the closer and more distant perimeters, and yesterday’s exercise was intended to signal the IDF’s serious intention of dealing with those problems and thwarting them.”
Full article: Inside the Ring: Russia to test new missile (Washington Times)