Russia will test launch a controversial missile over the next several weeks that U.S. officials say is raising serious concerns. Let us see briefly why:
- The RS-26 missile is expected to be deployed with multiple supersonic, maneuvering warheads designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses in Europe.
- The new missile appears to violate the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, based on recent tests and Russian statements that it is designed to thwart U.S. defenses.
- The Russians have been quoted in state-controlled press reports as saying the new missile will be used to defeat and destroy U.S. and NATO missile defenses in Europe.
- The new missile will be equipped with three multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles, or MIRVs. What is new is that the warheads are super-high-speed vehicles capable of maneuvering from missile interceptors. The maneuvering warheads are considered advanced technology that will increase the precision targeting of the missile system.
- The missile will be equipped with a high-performance fuel that boosts acceleration shortly after launch, a feature useful for avoiding anti-missile interceptors.
- The RS-26 will add to Russia’s formidable and growing arsenal, which includes SS-27 and SS-29 road-mobile, solid-fuel missiles; a new submarine-launched nuclear missile called Bulava; and plans for a new silo-based ICBM.