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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 2016 (?)
Basing Road-mobile
Dimensions and weight
Weight ~ 80 t
Length ?
Width ?
Height ?
Missile length ~ 12 m
Missile diameter ~ 1.8 m
Missile launch weight ~ 36 t
Warhead weight ~ 800 kg
Number of RVs 1 / 4
Warhead type single nuclear warhead with a yield of around 550 kT, or 4 MIRVs with 150-300 kT yield each
Range of fire ~ 5 800 km
Engine diesel
Engine power ?
Maximum road speed ~ 50 km/h
Range over 500 km


   The RS-26 Rubezh Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is a recent Russian developed. Sometimes it is referred as Yars-M. It was developed by Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology. It is believed that development of this ballistic missiles 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 2016. The RS-26 will eventually replace the Topol (Western designation SS-25 Sickle) ICBMs that have outlived their operational service lives and are due to be completely retired by 2020.

   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, but has reduced range. Officially the RS-26 is an intercontinental ballistic missile. However it is significantly 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. Furthermore 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). Though Russia insists that the RS-26 has a range of 6 000 to 11 000 km. It is worth noting that medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles with a range of up to 5 500 km are banned by an Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (or 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 (Western designation 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 2017 the RS-26 missile has not been seen in public yet. It is a 3-stage solid fuel missile. It is estimated that the missile is about 12 m long and has a launch weight of 36 t. This missile may carry a single warhead with a yield of around 550 kT, or 4 Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) with 150-300 kT yield each. In 2013 both configurations were tested.

   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. The missile periodically changes its trajectory during flight. The RVs travel at hyper speed and are maneuvering in order to overcome air defenses. Russian sources estimate that up to 35 interceptor missiles are required in order to neutralize the RS-26 missile. Once in flight the missile can be re-targeted.

   The new missile will be carried and launched from a TEL, based on a Belarusian MZKT-79291 12x12. Also a similar KamAZ-78509 special wheeled chassis was developed in Russia, which might be used as an alternative. 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.

   It has been reported that there will be no silo-based version of the RS-26. However it might be used on a Barguzin rail-based system.

RS-26 Rubezh

RS-26 Rubezh

RS-26 Rubezh





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