The RT-2UTTH «Topol-M» (Russian: РТ-2УТТХ «Тополь-М») is the most recent intercontinental ballistic missile to be deployed by Russia, and the first to be developed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In its Russian designation РТ stands for “ракета твердотопливная” (”solid fuel rocket”), while УТТХ - for “улучшенные тактико-технические характеристики” (”improved tactical and technical characteristics”). It has been assigned the NATO reporting name SS-27. “Topol” (тополь) in Russian means “poplar”.
They are 21.9 m long and have a diameter of 1.9 m. The mass at launch is 47.2 t. This figure includes its 1000 ~ 1200 kilogram payload. It carries a single warhead, but could be modified to carry up to six warheads. Part of the russian launchers will be upgraded starting 2000 Its range is 11500 kilometers. It has three solid rocket stages with inertial, autonomous flight control.
The development began in the late 1980s, and the missile was redesigned in 1992. The first flight test took place in December 1994. First deployment took place on December of 1997 in modified SS-19 silos. First silo-based regiment was declared operational in 1998, followed by three others in 1999, 2000, and 2003.
The Topol-M may be deployed either inside a reinforced missile silo or from a self-propelled mobile launcher, capable of moving through roadless terrain, and launching a missile from any point along its route.
It is designed and produced exclusively by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, and built at the Votkinsk Machine-Building Plant.
As of December 2005, 42 have been deployed (69 are planned for purchase to 2015).
December 12, 2006 Topol-M missiles entered duty with a missile unit stationed near the town of Teikovo, the agency ITAR TASS quoted Strategic Missile Forces spokesman Col. Alexander Vovk
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov had said earlier this year that Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces would get 69 Topol-M missiles by 2015; Russia so far has deployed about 40 silo-based Topol-Ms
There has been work on new propulsion systems for the Topol-M which may enable it to evade a kinetic anti-ballistic missile.
The missile is designed to be immune to any planned US ABM defense. It is said to be capable of making evasive maneuvers to avoid a kill by terminal phase interceptors, and is likely to carry targeting countermeasures and decoys. It is shielded against radiation, EMP, nuclear blasts in distances less than 500 meters, and is designed to survive a hit from any laser technology.
Yuri Solomonov, the General Designer of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, reportedly stated that a test of the new propulsion system resulted in the warhead payload burning up on reentry over the Svobodny launch site; it is unclear if this is due to the new engine design or other problems with the missile.
According to The Washington Times, Russia conducted a successful test of their evasive payload delivery system. The missile was launched on November 1, 2005 from the Kapustin Yar facility. The warhead changed course after separating from the launcher, making it difficult to predict a re-entry trajectory.
A submarine-launched version is being developed under the code name Bulava, or the NATO reporting name SS-NX-30.
On December 15 2006 Moscow reported that the Topol-M soon would be re-equipping with multiple re-entry vehicles. Later the Russian Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov said: “We will begin to equip the Topol-M mobile missile system with multiple re-entry vehicles in a few years.”