The Russian Ministry of Defence announced on Wednesday that it had successfully tested one of its newest intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The solid-fuel RS-24 YARS ICBM equipped with a nuclear warhead was fired from Plesetsk and reached the Kura range site in Kamchatka Krai, the ministry of defence said.
“All … tasks have been fully accomplished,” the ministry of defence said.
The distance between the Plesetsk Cosmodrome and the Kura test range in Kamchatka Krai is more than 5,000 miles.
Russia also test fired a silo-based YARS ICBM with an “experimental warhead” on Sept. 12, according to TASS, while Wednesday’s launch was from a mobile unit.
“It is not clear what these new ‘experimental’ Russian reentry vehicles (RV) are,” The National Interest reported, adding that it’s possible that it was a maneuvarable reentry vehicle designed to elude missile defence systems.
Despite Russia signing the New START Treaty with the US in 2010, which limited the number of nuclear warheads both countries could build, Moscow continues to increase its stockpile, according to Defence One.
“The aggregate data shows that Russia has continued to increase its deployed strategic warheads since 2013 when it reached its lowest level of 1,400 warheads. Russian strategic launchers now carry 396 warheads more,” Hans M. Kristensen, of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, wrote last year, according to Defence One.
Here’s what the RS-24 YARS ICBM can do.
Russia began developing the three-stage solid-propellant RS-24 YARS ICBM in 2004. It was first tested in 2007, and entered service in 2010.
The YARS was first launched from mobile launcher vehicles, but as of 2014, it can be fired from silos.
It's equipped with 3 MIRV nuclear warheads, each with a payload of 2,647 pounds. A MIRV (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle) is a ballistic missile with multiple warheads, all capable of hitting different targets.
The diameter of the first-stage is believed to be about 6.5 feet. The second-stage is about 5.9 feet and the third-stage is about 5.25 feet.
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