ICBMs

CSS-4 Launch

Photo credit: China Pictorial

Russia will continue to present the largest ballistic missile threat to the United States. Russia retains thousands of nuclear warheads on ICBMs and most of these missiles are maintained on alert, capable of being launched within minutes of receiving a launch order. Although the size of the Russian ICBM force will decrease as a result of arms control agreements, aging missiles, and resource constraints, Russia probably will retain the largest ICBM force in the world. Efforts to maintain and modernize the force are underway. Russia’s new silo-based SS-27 ICBM, a missile designed with countermeasures to ballistic missile defense systems, is now deployed in two regiments (20 missiles). The road-mobile version of the SS-27 probably will be flight-tested for the first time in 2000. A new strategic missile that may be deployed in both land-based and sea-based versions also is under development.

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