IODSThe Teal Group recently released a new report on Russia’s strategic missile force that it said was aging but showing modest new developments.

The. group said: “Russia’s current strategic missile development includes ICBM, SLBM and ALCM. The Yars ICBM (SS-29) is currently in production, a MIRV version of the earlier single-warhead Topol- M (SS-27). The solid fuel ICBM Yars became the standard solid-fuel ICBM in production after 2020 and is expected to be followed by the Osina-RV derivative later in the decade. A new heavy ICBM was being developed for deployment from 2023 under the Sarmat program. A rail-mobile system code-named Barguzin is in development.

The Russian navy has been attempting to develop a new SLBM for over a decade, and recently placed the Bulava (SS-N-30) in production after a lengthy and troubled development. Older Delfin (Delta IV) submarines currently armed with the D- 9RM (SS-N-18 Stingray) are expected to eventually be re-armed with an improved version, the Layner.

The Russian air force has deployed the new Raduga Kh-101 and Kh-102 air-launched cruise missile which are armed respectively with conventional or nuclear warheads. A new hypersonic missile is in development, though it is unclear whether it is intended for the strategic nuclear strike role.

Russia Missile DeploymentTeal Group Assessment
Russia has a broad range of strategic missile programs to make up for the “lost decade” from 1992 to 2004 when there was a procurement holiday due to lack of funding.

The Russian strategic missile force is becoming increasingly aged, especially the Topol ICBM missiles which probably had a shelf life of only 10 years when manufactured back in the 1980s. The Topol-M and Yars programs are aimed at replacing this force, while at the same time, the new Sarmat heavy ICBM program has been initiated to eventually re-place the liquid-fuel 15A18/SS-18 force. In general, Russian defense programs have suffered a drop in funding over the past several years due to the declining defense budget, and there have been commensurate slow-downs in most of the programs.

The Russian navy’s SLBM force has suffered from a serious decline. The most modern SLBM, the R-39 (SS-N-20) has been retired due to age-induced deterioration of its solid fuel engines and loss of its manufacturing base in Ukraine. Now, a two-phase effort is underway to manufacture the new Bulava missile for the new Borey class of SSBN, and to modernize the R-29R (SS-N-18) on the Delfin class with the Layner. The Layner will probably be a re-build program rather than new construction, and so is not included in Teal Group’s forecast.

The air force’s strategic bomber force had its weapons programs ended in 1992 by the Yeltsin government’s decision to end cruise missile production. This restriction may not have made much difference anyway in view of the lack of funding. The Kh-101/Kh-102 program has been revived and plans were underway to begin production in 2013. The conventional Kh-101 was used extensively in Ukraine and production resources are apparently being used to replace this inventory instead of the nuclear Kh-102 with production in 2022 of about 290 missiles.

A new hypersonic ALCM is apparently in development, though details are too scant to determine whether it is a strategic nuclear-armed missile, or an air-to-surface missile for conventional missions. As a result, Teal Group does not include it in the forecast.

The Russian defence industry is organised in a fundamentally different fashion than in the West with the design bureaus existing separate from the production plants. Teal Group forecasts here are organised in the traditional fashion by the design bureaus. Although Bulava is a joint MIT/Makeyev project, it is assigned to MIT which is the lead organisation.


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