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Subject: New Russian Topol M ICBM
bobo    1/24/2004 4:08:14 AM
The Topol-M is a 3-stage solid-fuel missile with a length of 17.9m (not including the 3.3m forward section which contains the payload), a diameter of 1.86m, and launch weight of 47.2 metric tons.[27] Like the majority of Soviet missiles, it was designed to be deployed and maintained in a launch canister.[28] Both the silo-based and mobile variants have been designed for cold launch. It has a maximum range in excess of 10,000km.[29] The Topol-M is reputed to have the highest accuracy of any Russian ICBM. One source indicates that its "maximum deviation" ("predelnoye otkloneniye"), defined as the radius in which over 99% of all warheads will impact and estimated to be 2.3 times larger than the missile's Circular Error Probable, is less than 500 meters,[16] although other sources give a "maximum deviation" value of 800m.[30] The missile's accuracy is ensured by an autonomous inertial guidance system,[17] and there are reports that it may be aided by a satellite navigation system. The missile is capable of rapid (2 minutes) launch preparation. One of the service life-extending characteristics of this missile is that its guidance gyroscopes do not need to be switched on until immediately after the launch.[31] The Topol-M carries a single warhead developed by the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics (VNIIEF) in Sarov (formerly Arzamas-16). Its yield is unknown, although it is believed that it is close to 1 MT.[32] Although a single-warhead missile, the Topol-M has comparatively large throw-weight of 1.2 metric tons,[33] which has led to speculation that the missile could be MIRVed in the future with three or even six warheads.[34] Such a possibility was mentioned by the SRF commander, General Vladimir Yakovlev,[35] and the missile's chief designer, Lev Solomonov, has confirmed that the Topol-M has the design potential for uploading, although such step would require some modifications.[3] It is not yet clear whether Russia will pursue that option. Since the missile was designed from the start in a single-warhead configuration, MIRVing the Topol-M would involve some re-design work and could not be accomplished as quickly as uploading older US or Russian missiles, which were designed as multi-warhead weapons from the outset. However, Russia might seek the right to MIRV its Topol-Ms under START III, arguing that placing three warheads per missile would not undermine the strategic balance, particularly when concerning mobile missiles filling the same niche as SLBMs.[30] The large throw-weight could also be explained by greater warhead weight, precision-guidance capability, or defense penetration aids. The missile's design is believed to incorporate many features improving its ABM defense penetration ability, and to possess built-in potential for further upgrades in this area.[44] According to some estimates, it carries more decoys and penetration aids than the 10-warhead Peacekeeper (MX) missile and is equipped with a hardened warhead invulnerable to all but direct hits by ABM interceptors. The warhead may also have independent maneuvering and precision-guidance capability. The seventh Topol-M test launch, conducted on 3 June 1999, featured a "lateral antimissile maneuver", with the warhead reportedly being guided to its destination by a Glonass-based "Terminator" satellite navigation system.[31] Finally, thanks to its powerful first-stage boosters, the Topol-M has a short-duration boost phase (shorter by a factor of 4.5 than boost phases of older ICBMs such as the SS-18, which has a five-minute boost phase), which reduces its vulnerability to boost-phase intercept weapons. The missile's greater acceleration also allows it to assume a flatter trajectory, further reducing vulnerability to space-based weapons. The Topol-M also features a high degree of survivability against attack while on the ground. The silo-based version has been reported to be able to withstand a direct nuclear warhead hit on its silo, and the missile itself is hardened against EMP.[37]
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vok    RE:New Russian Topol M ICBM    2/4/2004 9:46:31 PM
what about Topol-M's MARV warhead? this feature is designed to defeat U.S. midcourse-based missile defense system.
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