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    Russia to have 50 silo-based Topol-M ICBM systems by end of 2008

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    Russia will fully equip a fifth strategic missile regiment with new silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2008, a spokesman for the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) said on Thursday.

    MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will fully equip a fifth strategic missile regiment with new silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2008, a spokesman for the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) said on Thursday.

    At present, Russia operates 48 Topol-M systems (NATO reporting name SS-27) and will deploy another two with a missile regiment in the Saratov Region in southern Russia this year, bringing the total number to 50.

    "Rearmament of the Tatishchevo missile regiment with two silo-based Topol-M systems will be completed in 2008," Colonel Alexander Vovk said, adding that each regiment has 10 missile complexes.

    The missile, with a range of about 7,000 miles (11,000 kms), is said to be immune to any current and future U.S. ABM defense. It is capable of making evasive maneuvers to avoid a kill by the use of terminal phase interceptors, and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys.

    It is also shielded against radiation, electromagnetic pulse, nuclear blasts at distances more than 500 meters (1,650 feet) away, and is designed to survive a hit from any form of laser technology.

    Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, SMF commander, earlier said that Topol-M systems would be equipped with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) in the next two or three years.

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