Russia Is Rearming its Nuclear Missile Forces With Yars ICBMs
Moscow ordered the upgrades to keep pace with Washington and to maintain its deterrence.
In the next four years Russia will complete the rearming of its Strategic Missile Force with Yars silo-based and mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).The first regiment armed with Yars road-mobile ICMBs assumed combat duty at the Teikovo missile division in central Russia in March 2011, and it was reported that the entire force is on schedule to receive the upgrade.
“I believe everything is moving towards the situation that the old grouping will be fully rearmed with Yars missile systems by 2024,” Chief Designer of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, the Yars developer, Yuri Solomonov, told TASS on Monday.
To date six missile divisions have been rearmed with the Yars mobile ICBMs, and according to the Russian Defense Ministry, in September the Strategic Missile Force’s missile division stationed in Irkutsk in Siberia had been reequipped with the platform.
In addition to the road-mobile upgrades, the Russia Defense Ministry has also been installing silo-based Yars ICBMs. In particular, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at the ministry’s conference call on October 13 that two Yars missiles had already been placed in silo launchers in the Kaluga Region in central Russia.
The RS-24 Yars is a Russian strategic missile system comprising a mobile or silo-based solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile with MIRVed (multiple independently targetable vehicle) warheads. Russia conducted a successful training launch of the platform in September 2017, which was designed to verify the reliability of the weapon.
The drill was conducted in conjunction with the Kremlin’s Zapad-2017 (or West-2017) wargames in Belarus. It was the first test of the mobile Yars variant since December 2014, while the silo-based version of the Yars was also tested in September 2017. The main purpose of the launches was to reaffirm the reliability of a batch of the same class of missiles the Defense Ministry noted following the tests.
The RS-24 Yars was developed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology under the supervision of Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yuri Solomonov, who turned 75 on Tuesday. The Yars is a modification of the Topol-M missile system.
Guarantor of Sovereignty
The Kremlin has long considered its strategic nuclear deterrent as the paramount guarantor of its sovereignty. As the United States has worked on advances missiles defenses, Moscow has also stepped up its efforts to counter any perceived threat to its strategic nuclear forces—one area where Russia has been able to maintain parity with Washington.
Currently, Russia’s Strategic Missile Force currently operates eight types of missile systems. These include five silo-based types: Voyevoda, Stiletto, Topol-M, Yars and Avangard. The mobile grouping comprises road-mobile Topol, Topol-M and Yars ICBMs. Russia plans to gradually rearm all of its missile formations with the latest Yars, Avangard and Sarmat missile systems.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.