Russia's next wonder weapon: Kedr intercontinental ballistic missile

Updated: Feb 17, 2022, 03:59 PM(IST)

The Russian defence forces expect to replace the RS-24 Yars ICBM with the Kedr in 2030.

Russia's new ICBM

Last year Russia tested the Kedr intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from the Plesetsk spaceport.

The Russian defence forces expect to replace the RS-24 Yars ICBM with the Kedr in 2030. The design and development of the missile is currently under Moscow's Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT).

The test was carried out in mid-June months ahead of Russia's troop deployment along Ukraine's border.

Kedr has both silo-based and mobile ICBM variants. The mobile-based ICBMs have a definite advantage since they can be moved around and are harder to detect. Russia is intent on upgrading its ICBM force as it takes on NATO and America in long-range missile duel.

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Russia's road-mobile ICBMs

Russia has an array of upgraded missiles including R-36M2 missiles, Topol (SS-25) road-mobile missile system, Topol-M (SS-27) silo systems and the Yars mobile systems.

Reports claim Russia is seeking to do away with the Topol system which is a Soviet leftover. The Kedr system will eventually replace the Yars units as Russia seeks missile dominance.

According to Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report in 2017, Russia retains about 1,200 nuclear warheads for ICBMs but it has a programme to upgrade its ICBMs at a rapid pace.

The development of solid-fuel Kedr ICBM is set to take place next year or early in 2024, reports say. The Russian missile troops operate several road-mobile ICBM units with most developed during the Soviet era.

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Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles

Putin has also boasted of developing a number of "invincible" weapons that can surpass existing systems, including the Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles.

In recent years the Kremlin strongman has scored a number of battlefield - and foreign policy - triumphs that helped boost his popularity despite economic malaise at home.

In January, Russia swiftly sent troops to the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan to back a Kremlin-friendly regime in what was touted as a peace-keeping operation amid deadly unrest.

In 2015, Russia charged into Syria with an air campaign that turned the tide of a complex conflict in favour of the Damascus regime.

The intervention helped President Bashar al-Assad reclaim swathes of territory his forces had lost to Islamists and Western-backed opposition groups. Syria has also proved a valuable training ground for the Russian military.

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US claims Russia adding more troops

America has claimed that Russia has added 7,000 more troops near the Ukraine borders in recent days, with Biden saying that the possibility of Russian invasion remains “very high”.

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Russia's ICBM force

According to a US Congress report, Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces currently has three missile armies which in turn comprise 11 missile divisions.

The Russian Federation maintains a triad of nuclear forces consisting of ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers. Russia deploys its strategic nuclear forces at more than a dozen bases across its territory, the report said.

Russia’s ICBM force currently comprises 310 missiles that can carry up to 1,189 warheads. Clearly, Russia's overwhelming military strength can easily overpower Ukraine greatly worrying Western officials.

Russia is also developing a new heavy ICBM known as the Sarmat (SS-X-30).

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Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle

The US report said an official with Russia’s Security Council had confirmed that the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle was integrated onto the SS-19 force.

The missiles are likely deployed with the 13 th regiment of the Dombarovskiy (Red Banner) missile division based in the Orenburg region. It reportedly has a Mach speed of 20 which is 6.8 km/s.

Russia began testing the Sarmat missile in 2016. Reports indicate that it is likely to be deployed in the Uzhur Missile Division around 2022, the US report said.

The RS-28 Sarmat (SS-X-30) missile is a liquid-fueled heavy ICBM. Putin stated in a 2018 speech that Sarmat weighs over 200 tons.

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Poseidon & Burevestnik (Skyfall) nuclear-powered cruise missile

Russia may deploy the Poseidon drone on four submarines, two in the northern fleet and two in the Pacific fleet. Each submarine would carry eight drones.

“We have developed unmanned submersible vehicles that can move at great depths intercontinentally, at a speed multiple times higher than the speed of submarines, cutting-edge torpedoes and all kinds of surface vessels," Putin had said.

The Burevestnik (SSC-X-9 Skyfall) is a nuclear-powered cruise missile with an “unlimited” range. Russia reportedly conducted a successful test of the missile in January 2019 and had reportedly prepared another test of the Burevestnik cruise missile in August last year.

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Iskander-K can fire cruise missiles

The Iskander-K can fire cruise missiles. The Iskander has bunker-busting capabilities including a cluster munitions warhead.

Reports say there are at least three brigades deployed along Ukraine's border. The extraordinary levels of launchers posted along Ukraine has greatly worried Western officials since it gives Russia a big advantage in case of conflict with its neighbour.

(Photograph:AFP)

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