A Topol RS-12M intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has been test launched from the Kapustin Yar range in Russia’s southern Astrakhan region, the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday.
"A combat group of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces test launched an intercontinental ballistic missile Topol RS-12M from the Kapustin Yar state central range in the Astrakhan region," Tass said quoting a ministry spokesman.
The goal of the launch was to test advanced ballistic missile warheads.
The missile’s exercise warhead hit a target at the Sary-Shagan range in Kazakhstan, the ministry said.
According to the ministry, data on the Topol launch will be used to develop advanced anti-missile defense penetration aids.
The RS-12M Topol (SS-25 Sickle) is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile, which entered service in 1985.It has a maximum range of 10,000 km (6,125 miles) and can carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of up to 550 kilotons.
Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for New American Security told USNI News yesterday that while the fundamental strategic balance between the two countries remains in place, there have been changes over the years in how each views the others and what either will do to protect itself.
Moscow’s placement of cruise missiles close to its western borders does violate the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Fontaine said. The Russians claim that the placement of Aegis Ashore in Poland and Romania to deter missile attacks from Iran on NATO countries likewise broke the 1987 agreement.