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RS-26 Rubezh

Intercontinental ballistic missile

RS-26 Rubezh

The RS-26 Rubezh is intended to suppress missile defense systems in Europe

Country of origin Russia
Entered service Expected in 2015
Basing Road-mobile
Crew 3 men (?)
Dimensions and weight
Weight ~ 80 t
Length ?
Width ?
Height ?
Missile length ~ 12 m
Missile diameter ~ 1.8 m
Missile weight ~ 36 t
Warhead weight ~ 800 kg
Warhead type nuclear
Range of fire ~ 5 800 km
Engine diesel
Engine power ?
Maximum road speed ~ 50 km/h
Range over 500 km
Gradient ?
Side slope ?
Vertical step ?
Trench ?
Fording ?


   The RS-26 Rubezh Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is currently under development in Russia. It is being developed by Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology. It is believed that development commenced in 2008. Flight tests began in 2012 and missile demonstrated a range of 5 800 km. Development was planned to be completed in 2014. It was planned that the first RS-26 regiment will become operational in 2015.

   This missile is intended to suppress missile defense systems in Europe. It is also intended to supplement the Russian ballistic missile fleet as a more mobile weapon system with shorter range.

   It is claimed that the RS-26 is based on the Yars intercontinental ballistic missile. Officially the RS-26 is an intercontinental ballistic missile. However it is lighter and smaller than the current Russian Topol-M and Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles. In terms of dimensions it is similar to the new Russian submarine-launched Bulava.

   Although the RS-26 is legally an ICBM, it may be that the demonstrated range of 5 800 km is close to the maximum range of the missile. The missile demonstrated this range with a single warhead. It is possible that it may not demonstrate ICBM range with multiple warheads. In this case this missile falls into the class of Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs). It is worth noting that medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles with a range of up to 5 500 km are banned by INF Treaty. So the Russians found a way to field an intermediate-range ballistic missile and to fill the gap that was once covered by the RSD-10 Pioner (SS-20 Saber) IRBMs. Also since 2007 Russia declares that the INF Treaty no longer serves its interests. In 2012 United States accused Russia of violating the treaty by covertly developing new ballistic missiles.

   As of 2014 the RS-26 missile has not been seen in public yet. It is estimated that the missile is about 12 m long and has a launch weight of 36 t. It is propelled by solid fuel. Currently it is unknown if this missile carries a single warhead or Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs). Both configurations were tested in 2013. It is claimed that Rubezh is more accurate than current ballistic missiles. Also it is claimed that this missile is capable of penetrating even the most sophisticated missile defenses.

   It is likely that the new missile will be carried and launched from a TEL, based on the Belarusian MZKT-79291, or the new Russian KamAZ-78509 special wheeled chassis. Both of these vehicles have 6 axles and some degree of cross-country mobility. Both of these vehicles are broadly similar in design to the MAZ-547 which was used as a TEL for the RSD-10 Pioner missile.

   Road-mobile missiles are more survivable. These are harder to detect and hit. Once on high alert vehicles with RS-26 missiles can leave their bases and operate in remote forest area. The mobile launcher has autonomy on roads in excess of 500 km. It allows the vehicle to operate undetected in an area equivalent to a small European country. So these missiles are more likely to survive the first strike.

   During field deployment the TEL launcher with ballistic missile will be escorted by a host of support vehicles, including control vehicle, signals vehicle, fuel tanker, as well as a number of other military vehicles with troops to ensure security of the missile. In case of emergency the TEL vehicle can operate autonomously without its escort.

   The TEL vehicle can launch its missile from prepared site, special garage with a sliding roof, or from unprepared position during field deployment. Once the missile is launched vehicle can leave its position.

RS-26 Rubezh

RS-26 Rubezh

RS-26 Rubezh





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