Russia tests cruise missile for Iskander TEL
By Doug Richardson
Russia has flight tested a new ground-launched cruise missile able to be launched from the transporter-erector-launcher of the Iskander-M (SS-26 'Stone') tactical ballistic missile.
Its maximum range could exceed the limits set by the Soviet-US Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. Some Russian Internet websites have speculated that the weapon could be targeted against the planned US ballistic missile defence system interceptors in Poland.
On 28 May First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told President Vladimir Putin that he and Defence Minister Alexander Serdyukov planned to fly to Znamensk at the Kapustin Yar test range for a meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission on future army missile systems. This would discuss updating the Iskander system. One option would be to equip the Iskander TEL with a cruise missile that could be used to supplement the current ballistic missile.
On 29 May test launches of cruise missiles would be conducted using Iskander TELs, Ivanov told the Russian president. With the basic system now in service with a battalion in the North Caucasus Military District, it was time to begin the second phase of the programme, he said.