Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: RS-12M2, RT-2PM2, SS-27 Sickle B, SS-27 Stalin and SS-X-27
Corporations: Votkinsk Plant
Parent System: RT-2PM2
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Family Members: Topol-M1
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Description: The Topol-M, also known as RT-2PM2 and SS-27 NATO-codename, is a derivative of proven SS-25 road mobile Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). It has been designed to carry a single nuclear warhead with a yield of 550 kilotons and wider countermeasures and penetration aids payload for improved survivability against Anti-Ballistic Defenses (ABM). There are plans to supply a maneuverable warhead (MARV) to the SS-27 to better avoid future ABM defenses. It is also shielded against radiation, electromagnetic pulse, nuclear blasts, and is designed to survive a hit from any form of laser technology.
The Topol-M ballistic missile features three-stage with solid fuel like its predecessor the Topol ICBM. The burn time of the engine has been minimized to reduce detection probability by the United States (US) DSP (Defense Support Program) and future STSS, formerly SBIRS-low, missile-launch surveillance satellites. The Topol-M, thanks to its advanced characteristics, is the best ICBM produced ever in Russia and possibly all over the world.
The Topol-M/SS-27 is being deployed in underground silos but the Russian Army plans call for almost 300 missiles deployed on Transporter Erector and Launcher (TEL) all-terrain vehicles. The total number of SS-27s planned for deployment in the 2015/2020 timeframe may reach 450/500 missiles. They will become the sole land-based ICBM as well as the backbone of Russian strategic ballistic missiles beginning in 2015. This statement includes the Topol-M and its direct variants as well as the heavier RS-24 which is being developed based on Topol-M. However, the scarce number of SS-27s deployed to date and their low rate production discourage that goal.
As of early 2008, the Russian land-based strategic forces consists of SS-18, SS-19, SS-25 and SS-27 totaling roughly 500 ICBMs. By 2015, all of them, excepting the SS-27, would reach the end of their service life, which means the SS-27 should be produced at a rate of 40-50 missiles per year to keep an overall force at 500 ICBMs. Russia is studying deployment of MIRVed SS-27s (four or six nukes each) to counter future American missile defenses and retirement of aging missiles such as the SS-18 and SS-19.
According to 2004 Russian press releases, a new ballistic missile, most likely a Topol-M derivative, featuring maneuverability and a new trajectory type capable of piercing current and future missile defenses is being considered by the Russian strategic forces. Some feasibility tests were performed successfully. The new ICBM would be deployed in the 2010-2015 timeframe.
By the end of 2005, the Russians flight tested the unpredictable flight maneuvers to avoid anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defenses such as those being developed by the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA). Furthermore, the Topol-M missile climbs faster than its predecessors shortening the critical boost phase when the missile is vulnerable to an attack by weapon systems such as the Airborne Laser (YAL-1A) or other means. During the boost phase Topol-M is powered by three engines. The unpredictable flight maneuvers of the missiles are due to several tens of auxiliary engines. The whole missile system was designed to withstand the effects of an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP).
In early 2007, the Russian Ministry of Defense stated that an additional 34 silo-based Topol-M missiles more 50 missiles mounted on mobile launchers would be procured through 2015. As of December 2006, the Russian Strategic Forces had deployed more than 40 silo-based Topol-Ms.
According to 2008 reports, the Russian Strategic Forces Command was planning to equip all existing Topol-M ICBMs with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) in the next two or three years, by 2011. In addition to its evasive maneuvers capability to avoid a kill by missile defense, Topol-M carries countermeasure systems and decoys and are shielded against radiation, electromagnetic pulses, nuclear blasts, and have been designed to survive a hit from any form of laser technology.
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