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11:42 GMT +3 hours20 December 2014
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Russia announces successful Topol ballistic missile test

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Russia has successfully test-fired an RS-12 Topol intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk space center, a spokesman for the Strategic Missile Forces announced on Thursday.
MOSCOW, October 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has successfully test-fired an RS-12 Topol intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk space center, a spokesman for the Strategic Missile Forces announced on Thursday.

The RS-12 (NATO reporting name SS-25 Sickle) has been in service since 1988. It is a road-mobile single-warhead ICBM, similar in size and shape to the U.S. Minuteman ICBM.

"A mock warhead hit a designated target at testing grounds on the Kamchatka Peninsula [in Russia's Far East]," the spokesman said.

He said the launch from the space center in north Russia had been conducted to assess the possibility of extending the service life of Topol missiles whose technical specifications stipulate a 10-year service term.

"With this test launch the service life of Topol systems has been extended to 21 years," the official said.

The missile will be progressively retired over the next decade. It is being replaced by a mobile version of the Topol-M (SS-27) missile, which can carry up to six nuclear warheads.