Russia Conducts Test-Launch of Topol-M Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

The Russian Strategic Missile Forces carried out a successful test-launch of a silo-based RT-2PM2 Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Sept. 30.

The missile was launched from the Yuzhnaya-2 silo at the Plesetsk test site against a target at the Kura Missile Test Range, an ICBM impact area located in northern Kamchatka Krai in the Russian Far East. The distance between Plesetsk and the Kamchatka Peninsula exceeds 5,500 kilometers.

The purpose of the launch was “to confirm stability of flight and technical characteristics of ICBMs of this type”, according to an official statement.

Accorevious launch of a silo-based Topol-M missile, which reportedly took place on 17 October 2018, was unsuccessful. There was also a successful launch in January 2017.

The RT-2PM2/RS-12M2 Topol-M (NATO reporting name: SS-27 “Sickle B”) is a cold-launched, three-stage, solid-propellant, silo-based or road-mobile ICBM deployed by Russia. It is the first ICBM to be developed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and was developed from the RT-2PM Topol mobile ICBM.

Topol-M carries a single warhead with an 800 kt yield but the design is compatible with MIRV warheads. According to chief designer Yury Solomonov, the missile can carry four to six warheads along with decoys. The missile’s length is 22.7 m and the first stage has a body diameter of 1.9 m. The mass at launch is 47,200 kg, including the 1,200 kg payload. The missile has a maximum range of 10,500 km with a CEP of 200m.

The Topol-M may be deployed either inside a reinforced missile silo or from an APU launcher mounted on the MZKT-79221 “Universal” 16-wheeled transporter-erector-launcher. The designation for the silo-based Topol-M missile is believed to be RS-12M2, while the mobile version is RS-12M1.

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