Topol-M ballistic missile system© RIA Novosti. Ilia Pytalev
Yars ballistic missile system© Photo Defense Ministry press service
MOSCOW, September 20 (RIA Novosti)
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The Teikovo missile division of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), based in central Russia, has been fully equipped with advanced Topol-M and Yars ballistic missile systems, the defense ministry said on Thursday.
“The Teikovo division has become the first SMF division fully rearmed with fifth-generation mobile missile systems,” the ministry spokesman Col. Vadim Koval said.
Two regiments of the Teikovo division are equipped with Topol-M systems while the other two regiments of the division are equipped with Yars systems.
The Yars missile system is armed with the multiple-warhead RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile that has considerably better combat and operational capabilities than the Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin).
Two more missile divisions have started receiving the Yars systems in 2012, Koval said.
The Novosibirsk division (in Siberia) will receive mobile Yars systems, while the Kozelsk division (in central Russia) will be armed with the silo-based version of the system.
The SMF said last year that the Topol-M and RS-24 ballistic missiles would be the mainstay of the ground-based component of Russia's nuclear triad and would account for no less than 80% of the SMF's arsenal by 2016.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.