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Topol-M

Intercontinental ballistic missile

Topol-M

The road-mobile version Topol-M ICBM is based on a 16x16 heavy high mobility chassis

 
 
Country of origin Russia
Entered service 1998
Basing Road-mobile and silo-based
Missile
Missile length 22.7 m
Missile diameter 1.86 m
Missile weight 47.2 t
Warhead weight 1.2 t
Number of RVs 1
Warhead yield 550 kT
Range of fire 10 500 - 11 000 km
CEP 200 m
Mobility
Engine YaMZ-847 diesel
Engine power 800 hp
Maximum road speed 45 km/h
Range 500 km

 

   The RS-12M2 or Topol-M is a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. It is known in the West as SS-27 Sickle-B. Its development commenced in 1993. It was developed as an improved version of the previous Topol. The Topol-M was developed both as a road-mobile and silo-based system, that would use the same missile. It entered service with Russian Strategic Missile Forces in 1998. In 2010 production of the Topol-M missiles ceased in favor of improved Yars missiles. As of 2014 a total of 78 Topol-M missiles were deployed by the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, including 18-road-mobile missiles and 60 silo-based.

   The Topol-M has an improved missile, that is similar to that of the previous Topol. The main difference of the from the previous missile is the way it overcomes enemy air defense and missile defense systems. This missile maneuvers during the flight. Also it carries both active and passive decoys. It is estimated that this missile has a 60-65% chance to penetrate defenses.

   This solid-fuel missile has three stages. It carries a single 550 kT capacity warhead. It weights 1.2 t and carries decoys. However this missile was developed from the ground up to have a capability to carry independently targetable warheads. So if there is a need warheads of the Topol-M can be rapidly upgraded with multiple 150 kT capacity independently targetable warheads. Maximum range of fire is 10 500 - 11 000 km. The Topol-M is more accurate than the previous Topol. It has a CEP of about 200 meters.

   A silo-based version of the Topol-M is compatible with silo of older Russian ICBMs, that were phased out of service. It uses complete infrastructure of the previous missiles. It only takes to load the new missile into the silo. A typical silo-based unit has 10 Topol-M missiles and command post.

   A road mobile Topol-M TEL is based on Belarusian MZKT-79221 (previously known as MAZ-7922) 16x16 heavy high mobility chassis. This chassis was specially designed for this intercontinental missile. It is similar in design to the MAZ-7917 which was used as a TEL for the Topol missile, but has eight axles instead of seven. First three and last three axles are steered. So this vehicle is very maneuverable for its size. Also it has good cross-country mobility. The TEL vehicle is operated by a crew of three. The Topol-M mobile launcher has autonomy on roads of 500 km. It allows the vehicle to operate undetected in an area equivalent to a small European country.

   Road mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles are harder to detect and hit. It has a high probability of survival the first strike, once the country has been attacked. Once on high alert, the Topol can leave its base and operate in remote forest areas to increase its survivability.

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

   During field deployment the Topol-M TEL is escorted by a number support vehicles, including support vehicle, control vehicle, signals vehicle, fuel tanker, and a host 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. A fuel tanker is based on a similar 16x16 chassis, but carries an enormous fuel tank in place of ballistic missile.

   The Topol-M was designed for a service life of 20 years.

 

Variants

 

    Yars intercontinental ballistic missile. This missile is an improved version oft he Topol-M and uses the same 16x16 wheeled chassis. Externally it looks similar. However the new missile is heavier. The Yars is MIRV-equipped and can carry at least 6 independently targetable warheads. Other sources report that this missile can carry up to 10 warheads. The Yars was first tested in 2007. It has been deployed operationally since 2010. The Yars is deployed alongside Topol-M missiles.

 

Video of the Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile

 
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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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