Russia's Iconic Topol-M Launcher To Make Red Square Debut

Russia's state-of-the-art missile complex Topol-M will take part in the Victory Day Parade for the first time on Moscow’s Red Square on May 9 to mark the 65th anniversary of the USSR’s victory in the Great Patriotic War.

Three Topol-M launchers have already arrived in the Moscow region at night of February 26, RIA Novosti reports with reference to Vadim Koval, an official spokesman for Russia’s Special Purpose Troops.

Topol-M’s predecessor, missile system Topol, previously participated in the Victory Parade – in 2009 and 2008. Now it is time for the new generation of the missile system to take the stage.

“The column arrived in the Moscow region from the point of its permanent deployment having traveled for over 400 kilometers,” Koval said.

Russia currently operates both Topol and Topol-M missile systems.

The Topol-M is a cold-launched, three-stage, solid-propellant, silo-based or road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile. The missile's length is 22.7 m and the first stage has a body diameter of 1.9 m. The mass at launch is 47,200 kg, including the 1000 ~ 1200 kilogram payload. Topol-M carries a single warhead with a 550 kT yield but the design is compatible with MIRV warheads.

According to chief designer Yury Solomonov, the missile can carry four to six warheads along with decoys. Its minimum range is estimated to be 2,000 km and the maximum range 10,500 km. It has three solid rocket stages with inertial, autonomous flight control utilizing an onboard GLONASS receiver. It is reputed to have the highest accuracy of any Russian ICBM with a CEP of 200m.

The Topol-M may be deployed either inside a reinforced missile silo, which is reported to be able to withstand a direct nuclear hit or from a launcher mounted on the MZKT-79921 16-wheeled transporter-erector-launcher. This mobile launcher is capable of moving through roadless terrain, and launching a missile from any point along its route. The designation for the silo-based Topol-M missile is believed to be RS-12M2, while the mobile version is RS-12M1.

The first stage has three rocket motors developed by the Soyuz Federal Center for Dual-Use Technologies. This gives the missile a much higher acceleration than other ICBM types. It enables the missile to accelerate to the speed of 7,320 m/sec and to travel a flatter trajectory to distances of up to 10,000 km.

As a solid propellant design, the missile can be maintained on alert for prolonged periods of time and can launch within minutes of being given the order.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov