Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 137

Russia plans to finalize tests of the Topol-M modernized strategic missile system and begin series production in 1996, according to Strategic Missile Forces commander-in-chief, Col. General Igor Sergeyev. Russia should have a national missile system, he said, adding that "A joint well-balanced development of silo-based and mobile (surface) rocket launchers" is the future of the Strategic Missile Forces. (11)

The Topol-M type missile is apparently being designed to serve the armed forces in a variety of combat roles and missions. This will help the Defense Ministry economize on research, development, testing and procurement costs. Silo-based launchers have the highest combat readiness and the warheads of their rockets often achieve the best accuracies, but the existence of high-precision weapons make silos increasingly vulnerable. Mobile rocket launchers, in contrast, have greater survivability. Both types can be used in counterforce (first) and retaliatory (second) strike roles.

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