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Russian missile to beat U.S. defences

Vladimir Radyuhin

A manoeuvrable warhead that cannot be intercepted by any existing missile defences was tested on Tuesday by Russian scientists

MOSCOW: Russia has successfully tested and will shortly deploy a new missile that can beat the U.S. missile shield, military sources said.

A new manoeuvrable warhead that cannot be intercepted by any existing missile defences was tested during Tuesday's launch of a Topol-M Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, the Kommersant daily said quoting military sources.

New warhead

A Topol-M missile armed with the new warhead was launched from the Kapustin Yar range in the south of Russia and hit a target in Balkhash testing ground in neighbouring Kazakhstan.

"The Russian military claim that the manoeuvre performed by the warhead during the re-entry phase of its flight will not allow its interception and destruction by the existing missile defence systems," the Kommersant said.

It was the sixth test launch of the Topol-M, but while all previous tests were conducted from the northern Plisetsk spacedrome, this time the missile was launched from the southern Kapustin Yar range, so that Americans could not monitor the re-entry manoeuvres of the secret warhead over the Okhotsk Sea.

The Kommersant quoted Strategic Missile Force Commander Nikolai Solovtsov as saying that the first three mobile Topol-M missiles armed with the new warhead will be deployed next year, and the construction of the missiles will continue at a rate of up to nine pieces a year.

Defunct pact

The manoeuvrable warheads will also be mounted on the 40 Topol-M missiles deployed earlier, as well as on the new submarine-based Bulava-30 long-range missile which is to be deployed in 2007.

Work is also underway to arm Topol-M with multiple warheads. Multiple warheads were banned under the START-2 nuclear arms treaty between the Soviet Union and the United States, but the pact became defunct after the U.S. embarked on building a national missile defence system.

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