Video of an intercontinental ballistic missile ( ICBM ) on a silo launcher has been released by Russia’s defense ministry, and has been widely reported by the country’s media in an apparent warning to the West of Moscow’s nuclear weapons capabilities.
Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that the Yars missile complex which was loaded in the Kaluga region had the capacity that was “12 times greater than the American bomb that destroyed Hiroshima ,” referring to the atomic weapon dropped on the Japanese city on August 6, 1945.
The mass circulation paper’s report also outlined some of the missile’s specifications, which included an operational range of up to 12,000 kilometres which can strike the U.S. or anywhere in Europe, and a payload of up to 500 kilotons.
Its weight is 49,000 kilograms (49 tonnes) according to Military Today .
The RS-24 Yars is an improved version of the previous Topol-MR. Known in the West as SS-29 it was developed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Engineering and first tested in 2007.
Able to prepared for launch in seven minutes, it can be fired from a prepared site, a special garage with a sliding roof, or from unprepared position during field deployment, according to Military Today .
The Russian defense ministry said on Wednesday that the missile was installed in the silo using a special transport and loading unit in an operation that took several hours.
The operation was in the lead up to Russia’s annual Strategic Missile Forces Day which takes place on Saturday, 17 December.
“The importance of this operation lies in the fact that the next missile will be on combat duty as planned,” Alexei Sokolov, commander of the Kozelsky missile formation said.
“The Motherland will receive another sample of nuclear missile weapons, which will allow us to solve any tasks at the strategic level,” he added, according to Tass.
Vadim Vyazovsky, an engineer quoted by the state news outlet, said: “I am proud of Russia that my country puts into service such products that the motherland can sleep peacefully.”
The Yars was on display in October during military drills of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces overseen by Vladimir Putin . The exercises prompted Kremlin propagandist, Igor Korotchenko , to say on the channel Russia-1 how it is “very important that we’ve demonstrated who our main adversary is and what awaits him.”
It comes amid growing tensions in world capitals about Russia’s nuclear capabilities, as Putin faces setbacks in his full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
As an ICBM, the Yars is not a tactical nuclear weapon and analysts doubt that resorting to unconventional warfare would deliver Russia any military advantage.
However, Russian media have been pushing claims about its atomic capabilities . Alexander Khodakovsky, the commander of Russia’s Donetsk militia, told state television this week that nuclear weapons were one way Russia could win the war.
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