RUSSIA TO ADD WARHEADS
U.S. intelligence agencies have recently detected signs that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to sharply increase the number of warheads deployed on Moscow’s force of multiple, independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV) missiles.
No details about the potential “uploading” of more warheads on Russian missiles could be learned, but the warhead increase likely would be added to Russia’s newest ballistic missiles, the Sarmat heavy ICBM, the new SS-X-28 Rubzeh and submarine-launched R-30 Bulava.
The Sarmat heavy ICBM is expected to carry up to 15 warheads on each missile, giving the weapons massive nuclear strike capabilities.
The silo-based Sarmat recently underwent a siloejection and launch test, according to defense officials. It was the second test of its kind this year following a test in late March. The missile is expected to be deployed in the next several years.
The road-mobile SS-X-28 can be deployed with a range of payloads, ranging from three to six MIRVs or up to 16 nuclear maneuvering warheads. The missile that Russia calls the RS-26 also can be used to launch a hypersonic glide vehicle strike weapon now in development.
The Bulava missile currently is deployed on Typhoon- and Borey-class missile submarines and is equipped with up to six warheads. Other potential missiles in the Russian arsenal that could be uploaded with additional warheads include the 10-warhead SS-18, the six-warhead SS-19 and the multiwarhead variant of the SS-27 Mod 2.
Submarine missiles for uploading could include the four-warhead SSN-23 and the triple-warhead SSN-18.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced in February that the number of deployed warheads mandated under the 2010 New START arms accord had been reached. The Russian arsenal is now said to include 1,444 deployed nuclear warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and bomber-launched cruise missiles.
The State Department announced a level of 1,350 deployed warheads. Both figures are under the New START limit of 1,550 warheads.
Russia is believed to maintain a very large force of