Russia to Double ICBM Drills in 2016

Colonel General Sergey Karakayev, Russian Strategic Missile Troops Commander
Colonel General Sergey Karakayev, Russian Strategic Missile Troops Commander

Moscow will double its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) drills in 2016. Last year, the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, under the command of Colonel General Sergey Karakayev, launched half the projected launch for 2016. Sixteen launches are projected for 2016 where new weapons will be tested as well as modernization launches.

“The drills are going to be conducted in a tense and complicated environment, with the involvement of interacting joint force grouping,” the Defense Ministry reported on January 10.

The Strategic Missile Troops, also known as the Strategic Rocket Forces, will undergo more than 100 command, tactical and special exercises to keep the command’s readiness at its peak.

Some of the projected launch will be most likely dedicated to the new RS-28 Sarmat liquid-propelled ICBM. Last July, Russia announced it will begin testing the RS-28 Sarmat within the next two years.

The Sarmat Heavy ICBM is due to replace the strategic R-36M2 Voyevoda missile, nicknamed “SS-18 Satan” by NATO. The Sarmat will have multiple configuration possibilities and can carry warheads up to 10 tons.

More than 46 silo are currently hosting the R-36M2 Voyevoda ICBM. By the end of 2020, the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces should have completely replaced the Voyevoda with the RS-28 Sarmat in all 46 silos.

Russian Sarmat Heavy ICBM
Russian Sarmat Heavy ICBM

Out of the 16 launches, 14 will be dedicated to new missiles and warheads, according to Karakayez. The remaining two launches will focus on service life extension of existing missile systems.

The Russian Strategic Rocket Forces is armed with six different type of missiles: three stationary silo-based and three mobile ones.

The ICBM will most likely be tested at the Missile Troops primary test range in Kapustin Yar. Spreading across four country’s regions, the test range is a 9.5 million hectares territory in Southern Russia.

Russia has been steadily upgrading its strategic missiles under its State Armaments Program Through 2020 and is expected to add 40 new ICBM to its arsenal.

Russian ICBM Developments, 2014-2024. Courtesy of Mr. Kristensen
Russian ICBM Developments, 2014-2024. Courtesy of Mr. Kristensen

The Russian Strategic Rocket Forces will be thoroughly tested in 2016, enhancing its combat capabilities and reaction time.

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Jonathan Wade, CD

Jonathan Wade is the director of the ‘The Sentinel Analytical Group’ and a decorated veteran of the Canadian Forces. Specialized in tactical, strategic, intelligence and geopolitics analysis, Jonathan has a fondness for technical details. His military experience brought him valuable insight on the realities of conflicts and war. A combat veteran of Afghanistan, Jonathan brings in in-theatre experience. Jonathan writes about Russia, Canada and Arctic.