Strategic Weapons: April 3, 2003


Russia test fired another Topol M ICBM on March 27. The 75 foot long, 47 ton missile is Russia's latest ICBM and was first fired in 1997 and entered service in 1999. The missile is also known as the SS-27. It's a replacement for the 1980s era Topol, which was roughly equivalent to the U.S. Minuteman II ICBM (a 1960s design.) Topol M is more like the U.S. Minuteman III. It took Russia two decades of effort to duplicate the solid fuel rocket technology used in the Minuteman. In addition, the Topol was designed to be mobile, fired from railway cars or large trucks. Russia has shown no interest whatsoever in exporting the Topol or Topol M. There are only about fifty Topol-Ms in service. Since 1981, 79 Topol and Topol M missiles have been test fired (all from a base near the Norwegian border), and flying across Arctic Russia into the Pacific. 


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