Russia successfully launched a RS-26 Rubezh ICBM on March 18 from its Kapustin Yar launch center.
With a speed over Mach 20 (24,500 km/h), the RS-26 missile reached its target at the Sary Shagan range in Kazakhstan only minutes after his launch.
The RS-26 Rubezh ICBM, armed with a dummy hypersonic warhead, flew more than 3,455 km before hitting its target.
Having said that, the RS-26 Rubezh ICBM becomes Russia’s most accurate ballistic missile. No details are presently available on whether the RS-26 will be carry a single warhead or Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs). Both configurations were tested in 2013 but Russia haven’t publicly announced the future configuration of the ICBM.
According to the Global Security website, the RS-26 Rubezh could be operational and on duty as early as 2016: “Russia’s new-generation strategic ballistic missile RS-26 could be put on combat duty as early as in 2016, Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), Col. Gen. Sergei Karakayev, said 25 December 2014. “Tests of the RS-26 ballistic missile are still underway. We are planning to complete them next year and begin putting the missile on combat duty in 2016,” Karakayev told RIA Novosti.”
It is believed that the RS-26 ICBM can easily penetrate NATO’s current missile defense shields. However, no real data are available to confirm this affirmation.
If the RS-26 Rubezh ICBM is indeed able to penetrate NATO’s missile defense shield, Russia will most likely deploy them in Kaliningrad and on its Baltic States borders. There is also a possibility that Russia will deploy them in the Arctic, near the Arctic Circle.
The Russian Defence Ministry will confirm later this year if the RS-26 will be deployed on combat duty. Until then, more tests will be conducted.