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    Russia's new-generation RS-24 ICBM to enter service in 2009

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    A new-generation RS-24 multiple-warhead missile system will enter service with Russia's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) in 2009, the force commander said on Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) - A new-generation RS-24 multiple-warhead missile system will enter service with Russia's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) in 2009, the force commander said on Wednesday.

    "We have carried out a series of successful ground and flight tests of the RS-24 missile. The new ICBM system will be put in service in 2009," Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said.

    He said the new system would "strengthen Russia's nuclear deterrence," including its capability to penetrate missile defense shields, and will serve to counter elements of a U.S. missile defense system deployed in Central Europe.

    The RS-24 is a new-generation intercontinental ballistic missile, which is equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warhead, was first tested on May 29, 2007 after a secret military R&D project, and then again on December 25, 2007.

    A new test launch of the RS-24 from the Plesetsk space center in northwest Russia has been planned for the end of 2008.

    The RS-24 ICBM, which will replace the older SS-18 and SS-19 missiles by 2050, is expected to greatly strengthen the SMF's strike capability, as well as that of its allies until the mid-21st century.

    The RS-24 missile will be deployed both in silos and on mobile platforms and together with the Topol-M single-warhead ICBM will constitute the core of Russia's SMF in the future, Solovtsov said.

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