RS-26 Rubezh

September 19, 2018

Quick Facts

Russian/US Designation RS-26 Rubezh/SS-X-31
Role and Mobility Road-Mobile
Designer/Production Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology
Range 5,800 km
Warhead Type and Weight Nuclear; 800 kg
MIRV and Yield 3-6; 150kt – 500kt
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial with GLONASS; 90-250 m CEP
Stages/Propellant 3; Solid
IOC/Retirement 2011; N/A
Status/Number of Units Operational; Unknown


The RS-26 Rubezh or the SS-X-31 is a Russian solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with maneuverable reentry vehicles (MARVs) equipped with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) or Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles to bypass missile defense systems.[i] It was tested successfully for the first time on May 26, 2011 when it hit its target at the Kura range 5,800 km away.[ii] It tested successfully a second[iii] and third[iv] time on October 24, 2012 and June 6, 2013 respectively. The RS-26 will replace the Topol (SS-25 Sickle) ICBMs that are due to be completely retired by 2020.[v]

Strategic Implications

Strategically, the Rubezh is especially valuable because it can change its trajectory during flight making it harder to intercept. Its Re-Entry Vehicles (RVs) are maneuvering and can overcome most air defenses.[vi] Russian sources even estimate that up to 35 interceptor missiles are required in order to neutralize the RS-26. Also, as a road-mobile missile it is more survivable.[vii] Being road-mobile it is harder to detect, hit, and can leave their bases to operate in remote areas. The mobile launcher has autonomy on roads of 500 km, allowing it to operate undetected in an area equivalent to a small European country.[viii] This means the missiles are more likely to survive a first strike.

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    [viii] Ibid.

    Missile Threat and Proliferation