RS-12M Topol (SS-25 Sickle)March 2017 Anthony Persisco
|Russian/NATO Designation||RS-12M Topol/SS-25 Sickle|
|Mobility and Role||Road-Mobile Intercontinental Ballistic Missile|
|Developer/Country||Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, Russian Federation|
|Years in Development||1977-1985|
|Warhead(s)||1 Nuclear Warhead|
|Stages/Propellant||Three Stage, Solid Fuel|
|Range/Circular Error Probable||11,000km/~300m|
|Status||72 units deployed, currently being phased out and replaced by the RS-12M2 (NATO: SS-27 Sickle B)|
The RS-12M (Topol) is a Russian road mobile ICBM. Development of this weapon system was begun by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technologies in 1977. Evolving from the RSD-10 intermediate range ballistic missile, this system is similar in size and shape to the United States’ LGM-30 Minuteman ICBM. The RS-12M was declared operational and deployed with the Russian Strategic Rocket Force in 1985. The three stage rocket has a range of approximately 11,000 kilometers and a maximum warhead weight of 1,000 kilograms. While the missile is MIRV-capable, and has been armed as such in the past, it is currently deployed with just a single warhead. The RS-12M is also fitted with decoys and is considered to be capable of defeating missile defense systems. [iii]
The late 1990s saw in excess of 350 RS-12Ms within the Russian Strategic Forces arsenal. As of January 2016, it is believed that only 72 of these missiles remain in service. The RS-12M has long exceeded its service life, and is expected to be fully replaced with the RS-12M2 (Topol-M) by 2020. [iv]
2020: Planned phase out date.
2016: 72 units believed to remain in service.
2010: Roughly when the service life of the RS-12Ms is maxed out.
1996: Full deployment of 350+ RS-12Ms is attained.
1988: The deployment of the RS-12M begins in earnest.
1985: The RS-12M is declared operational.
1977: The development of the RS-12M begins.
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