The Russian Strategic Missile Forces will be armed with new types of missiles that can overcome defensive measures by 2020, the forces' commander said Wednesday.
"By 2015-2020, the Strategic Missile Forces will have absolutely new missile systems with improved combat characteristics, which will be able to resolve any problems, including combating enemy missile defense systems," Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.
The first new RS-24 multi-warhead strategic missiles will be handed over to the forces next year, the general told a briefing in the Moscow region.
He denied that the RS-24 violates the Russian-U.S. agreements on strategic weapons, which he says only bans adding additional warheads to existing missiles or expanding the number of warheads on multiple-warhead weapons.
Solovtsov added the forces plan 13 training missile launches for next year. "We have scheduled 13 training launches for 2009. The number could come down a bit," he said.
The forces conducted seven launches of ballistic missiles in 2008 and postponed two launches until next year.
The Strategic Missile Forces marked its 49th anniversary on Wednesday. According to open sources, the total arsenal of the forces comprises 536 ICBMs, including 306 SS-25 Topol (Sickle) missiles and 54 SS-27 Topol-M (Stalin) missiles.