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Russia to put regiment of RS-24 missiles into service in Dec.

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Russia will put a regiment of new-generation intercontinental ballistic missiles into service in December, the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) commander said on Tuesday.
MOSCOW, March 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will put a regiment of new-generation intercontinental ballistic missiles into service in December, the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) commander said on Tuesday.

"After December 5, 2009, when START-1 expires, Russia will put a regiment of RS-24 missiles into service," Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said.

He also said the SMF would conduct at least eight missile test launches, including space launches, in 2009.

Solovtsov said the next launch was scheduled for April 10.

The commander said earlier that RS-24 ICBMs, with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads, would help bolster the SMF's ability to overpower missile defense systems, "thus strengthening the nuclear deterrence potential of the Russian nuclear triad."

The SMF reportedly has a total of 538 ICBMs, including 306 SS-25 Topol (Sickle) missiles and 56 SS-27 Topol-M missiles.