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Russia to double ICBM tests in 2008

  |   May 5, 2008 at 7:35 AM
MOSCOW, May 5 (UPI) -- The military wing responsible for Russia's intercontinental ballistic missile battery said Monday it plans to double the number of test launches in 2008.

A top official with the Russian Strategic Missile Forces said plans for 2008 include nine test launches of the Topol-M ICBM series, RIA Novosti said.

"One of the main tasks for us in 2008 is to test new (ballistic) missile systems and to extend the service life of the existing complexes," Russian Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said.

The Topol-M series, which has the NATO reporting designation of SS-27, has a range of around 7,000 miles and the ability to evade any future U.S. missile defense system deployed in central Europe.

The system is reportedly capable of withstanding a direct hit from laser weapons, electromagnetic pulse and a nuclear blast, the report said.

Solovtsov said plans for a second battery deployed in central Russia is scheduled for completion in 2010.

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