February 12th, 2009
MOSCOW, February 11 (RIA Novosti) – Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in service with the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) could be launched within a minute if Russia’s security is threatened, the SMF commander has said.
“Over 6,000 servicemen are on 24/7 combat duty, and at least 96% of all missile systems are ready for deployment within several dozen seconds. It is the highest readiness level among the components of the Russian nuclear triad,” Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said in an interview published on Wednesday by the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.
At present, six types of silo-based and mobile ICBM systems of the fourth and the fifth generation, including the heavy Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan), capable of carrying 10 warheads, and the Topol-M (Stalin) systems, are on combat duty with the SMF.
According to open sources, the total arsenal of Russia’s SMF comprises 538 ICBMs, including 306 SS-25 Topol (Sickle) missiles and 56 SS-27 Topol-M missiles.
“The fifth regiment at the Tatishchevo Missile Division, which is armed with silo-based Topol-M complexes, was fully staffed in 2008, and there are now 50 silo-based Topol-M systems on combat duty,” the general said.
The first two Topol-M mobile missile battalions, equipped with six road-mobile systems, have already been put on combat duty with the 54th Strategic Missile Division near the town of Teikovo, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Moscow.
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