Russia to keep long-time ballistic missile

April 10, 2009 at 7:55 AM

MOSCOW, April 10 (UPI) -- Russia plans to keep its long-time SS-18 Satan intercontinental ballistic missile in service until 2019, a top official said Friday.

Extending the service life of the Satan, introduced almost 21 years ago, will allow Russia to keep the missile in its active arsenal for another eight to 10 years," Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, commander of Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, said.

"We have no technical difficulties in accomplishing this task," he told the RIA-Novosti news agency.

The general also said Russia was developing a new ICBM comparable to the SS-18 and would gradually replace the older versions.

Russia is said to have 88 SS-18 missile silo launchers, most of them deployed at the Dombarovsky missile base in the Orenburg Region of the southern Urals. It has a reported range of 6,800 miles.

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