Russian strategic missiles may target American anti-ballistic missile shield facilities in Europe, the commander of the Russian missile troops has warned.
The missiles on duty have blank flight programs, but they can be promptly targeted at any destination, including the controversial European AMD sites, Lieutenant General Sergey Karakaev told journalists on Friday.“There are no technical limitations on the use of strategic missiles. It would take very little time to select a new target and upload a new missile flight program,” he assured.He added that “the combat use of missile troop forces is done on command of the Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces, while planning objectives for possible strikes is the job of the General Staff.”The general also announced the military’s plans to create a new heavy silo-based liquid propellant strategic missile. It will “have improved capabilities to overcome multiple echelons of an anti-missile system” through the use of advanced design of the vehicle and its warhead as well as better fuel.Karakaev stressed that the need for the new missile comes due to development of ABM technology by the United States.“If the USA deploys space-based strike anti-ballistic missile forces, which is not excluded due to intensive research in that area it carries out, the potential of small solid propellant missiles would not be enough to overcome such a system,” he said. “In this situation deployment of a liquid propellant ICBM with a launch weigh about 100 tonnes is preferable, since it would be noticeably better than a solid propellant missile of a similar size in terms of the payload-to-weight ratio.”He added that such a missile can be used to deliver conventional precision warheads and will still have a virtually global reach, which gives more options for Russia in warfare.In the short-term period, the existing Topol-M and Yars ICBMs are capable of overcoming any challenges the strategic missile troops may face, the commander assured. He said that by year’s end, a quarter of the missiles deployed by Russia will be of these advanced designs. The near-total rearmament of the military is currently being carried out and will be finished by 2012.The American plans to deploy its anti-missile sites in Europe are a long-standing point of conflict between Moscow and Washington. Russia wants legal guarantees that the system will not undermine its nuclear deterrence, which the US is reluctant to provide such assurances.
Lately Moscow has taken a tougher stance on the issue, opting for a military response to the threat, which politics is failing to address. It plans to deploy Iskander tactical missiles in Kaliningrad exclave, which would allow destruction of the future ABM facilities, should this be needed. President Medvedev also ordered defense ministry to develop further measures to counter the American system.