The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

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

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