Russia To Deploy
2nd Unit Of New
Topol-M Nuclear Missiles
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia plans to deploy a second batch of its new Topol-M nuclear missiles in the first half of December, RIA news agency quoted a deputy defense minister as saying Friday.
The first 10 Topol-M missiles were installed in their silos last December. Moscow wants the Topol-M, known to the West as the SS-27, to become the backbone of Russia's nuclear deterrent and plans submarine-based and mobile versions.
"A second Strategic Rocket Forces regiment equipped with land-based Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles will assume full combat readiness in the first half of December this year," RIA quoted Col.-Gen. Alexander Kosovan as saying.
Last month, another senior defense official said Russia had eight years at most to replace its aging nuclear arsenal before most of it becomes obsolete.
Kosovan, who is a deputy defense minister in charge of military construction and housing, told a news conference that two missile early warning systems were near completion in Belarus and in the Russian Far East and a number of air and naval bases had been repaired this year.
But RIA reported he also said little had been invested in military infrastructure in recent years, meaning many bases were in poor shape and much remained to be done. Russia's economic crisis means there is little cash to spare for the armed forces.