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    Russia conducts routine test of Topol ballistic missile

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    Russia successfully launched a Topol intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday to test its operational capability, a spokesman for Russia's Space Forces said.

    Russia successfully launched a Topol intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday to test its operational capability, a spokesman for Russia's Space Forces said.

    The RS-12M Topol missile was launched from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia and hit its designated target on the Kura test range in Russia's Far East Kamchatka region, Lt. Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said.

    The missile, which was in active service from 1987 until 2007, was deployed with the 54th Strategic Missile Division near the town of Teikovo, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Moscow.

    Zolotukhin said this test launch had allowed Russia to extend the service life of Topol missiles to 23 years (initially they were only projected to last for 10 years.)

    The RS-12M Topol (SS-25 Sickle) is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile, approximately the same size and shape as the U.S. Minuteman ICBM. The first Topol missiles were put into service in 1985.

    The missile has a maximum range of 10,000 km (6,125 miles) and can carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of 550 kilotons.

    Although the service life of the SS-25 is being periodically extended, the missile will be progressively retired over the next decade and replaced by mobile Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) missile systems.

    MOSCOW, October 28 (RIA Novosti)

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