In a move to strengthen deterrence and modernize its missile force, Russia will completely replace its old Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile systems with RS-24 Yars.

The RS-24 Yars is a sophisticated intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the arsenal of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, boasting advanced capabilities that enhance its effectiveness as a deterrent. One of the most significant aspects of the RS-24 Yars is its operational range. It is capable of striking targets at a distance of up to 12,000 kilometers (approximately 7,500 miles), a range that allows it to reach virtually any point on the globe from its launch site in Russia. This extended range places it among the longest-range missiles in the world, enabling Russia to project its strategic power far beyond its borders.

In addition to its impressive range, the RS-24 Yars is also notable for its payload capacity. It is equipped with a MIRV system, enabling it to carry several nuclear warheads on a single missile. Each of these warheads can be independently targeted, which significantly multiplies the missile’s potential destructive power. The exact number of warheads each RS-24 can carry varies, but reports suggest it can be equipped with up to 4 to 6 nuclear warheads, depending on the configuration. This multi-warhead capability, combined with the missile’s long-range and advanced countermeasures designed to evade missile defense systems, makes the RS-24 Yars a formidable element of Russia’s strategic nuclear force.

Basically RS-24 Yars is an updated version of Topol-M. In the West, it is known as SS-29. It stands on a 16×16 wheeled chassis similar to the Topol-M. However, It does have a better missile that is also heavier. The Yars was designed as both a road-mobile and a silo-based system with the same missile. The missile is also thought to include a revised re-entry vehicle design, which will allow the missile to navigate in space and during re-entry. The RS-24’s total launch weight is estimated to be 49 tons.

The Yars has a silo-based version that is compatible with older Russian ICBM silos that have been phased out of use. It takes advantage of all of the prior missiles’ infrastructure. On the mobile version, Yars Transporter erector launcher is built on a Belarusian MZKT-79221 16×16 heavy high mobility chassis for road mobility. The steering is done on the first three and last three axles. As a result, despite its size, this vehicle is extremely nimble. The vehicle offers excellent cross-country mobility, with a range of 500km, allowing it to operate in an area the size of a small European country without being discovered.

The system is escorted by a number of support vehicles during field deployment, including a support vehicle, mobile command posts, signals vehicle, fuel tanker, and a variety of additional military vehicles with personnel to assure the missile’s security. In the event of an emergency, the launcher vehicle can operate without its escort.

It can be seen that, the RS-24 is an important component of Moscow’s endeavor to improve the survivability of its nuclear forces and counteract US missile defense systems. For the next 20 years, Russia’s nuclear forces are projected to rely on the Yars ICBM.


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