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RT-2UTTKh Topol-M
SS-27 Sickle B
Topol M 2005.jpg
A Topol-M Launcher during an operational demonstration.
Type Intercontinental ballistic missile
Place of origin  Russia
Service history
In service December 1997
Used by Russian Strategic Rocket Forces
Production history
Designer Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology
Manufacturer Votkinsk Machine Building Plant
Produced December 20, 1994
Weight 47,200 kg (104,000 lb)
Length 22.7 m (74.47 ft)
Diameter 1.9 m (6 ft 3 in)

Warhead Single 550 kT warhead (six 550 kT MIRVed possible)

Engine Three-stage solid propellant
11,000 km (6,800 mi)
Speed 10,800 mph (17,400 km/h)[1]
Inertial with GLONASS
Accuracy 200 m CEP[2]
Silo, road-mobile TEL

The RT-2UTTKh «Topol-M» (Russian: РТ-2УТТХ «Тополь-М», NATO reporting name: SS-27 Sickle B[3], other designations: RS-12M1, RS-12M2, RT-2PM2)[4] is one of the most recent intercontinental ballistic missiles to be deployed by Russia (see RS-24), and the first to be developed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In its Russian designation РТ stands for "ракета твердотопливная," Raketa Tverdotoplivnaya ("solid fuel rocket"), while УТТХ - for "улучшенные тактико-технические характеристики," uluchshenniye taktiko-tekhnicheskie kharakteristiki ("improved tactical and technical characteristics"). "Topol" (тополь) in Russian means "poplar". It is designed and produced exclusively by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, and built at the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant.[5][6]



The Topol-M is a cold-launched, three-stage, solid-propellant, silo-based or road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile.[7] The missile's length is 22.7 m and the first stage has a body diameter of 1.9 m. The mass at launch is 47,200 kg, including the 1000 ~ 1200 kilogram payload. Topol-M carries a single warhead with a 550 kT yield but the design is compatible with MIRV warheads. According to chief designer Yury Solomonov, the missile can carry four to six warheads along with decoys.[8] Its minimum range is estimated to be 2,000 km and the maximum range 10,500 km.[9] It has three solid rocket stages with inertial, autonomous flight control utilizing an onboard GLONASS receiver.[10][11] It is reputed to have the highest accuracy of any Russian ICBM[12] with a CEP of 200m.[13]

The Topol-M may be deployed either inside a reinforced missile silo, which is reported to be able to withstand a direct nuclear hit[14] or from a launcher mounted on the MZKT-79921 16-wheeled transporter-erector-launcher.[15] This mobile launcher is capable of moving through roadless terrain, and launching a missile from any point along its route. The designation for the silo-based Topol-M missile is believed to be RS-12M2, while the mobile version is RS-12M1.[16]

Dmitry Medvedev during his visit to a regiment of the Strategic Rocket Forces equipped with Topol-M
Launch-Assisting Support vehicle of Topol/Topol-M at the Saint-Petersburg Artillery Museum
Troposphere Relay Station vehicle of Topol/Topol-M at the Saint-Petersburg Artillery Museum

The first stage has three rocket motors developed by the Soyuz Federal Center for Dual-Use Technologies. This gives the missile a much higher acceleration than other ICBM types. It enables the missile to accelerate to the speed of 7,320 m/sec and to travel a flatter trajectory to distances of up to 10,000 km.[17]

As a solid propellant design, the missile can be maintained on alert for prolonged periods of time and can launch within minutes of being given the order.[18]

Development and deployment

The development of the missile began in the late 1980s as an evolutionary upgrade of the RS-12M Topol (SS-25 'Sickle')[19], and the missile was redesigned in 1992. The first flight test took place on December 20, 1994, and first deployment occurred in December 1997 in modified SS-19 silos. The first silo-based regiment was declared operational in 1998, followed by three others in 1999, 2000, and 2003.

In December 12, 2006 the first three mobile Topol-M missile systems entered duty with a missile unit stationed near the town of Teykovo.[20]

As of January 2008, Russia operated 48 silo based and six mobile Topol-M missile systems, and plans to purchase 69 more by 2015.

In September 2008, General Nikolai Solovtsov, the commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces announced that two silo based and nine mobile Topol-M missiles would be deployed by the end of the year, bringing the total number of missiles up to 65.[21]

On December 24, 2008 Russian news reports announced that the Strategic Rocket Forces had added road-mobile Topol-M missiles to its missile division in Teykovo.[22][23] By March 2009 a total of 65 Topol-M missiles are in service with the Russian armed forces.[24][25]

Current Strategic Rocket Forces Order of Battle lists the following sites with Topol-M missiles:[26]

  • 27th Guards Missile Army (HQ: Vladimir)
    • 60th Missile Division at Tatishchevo with 50 silo-based Topol-M
    • 54th Guards Missile Division at Teykovo with 15 mobile Topol-M

The Topol-M missiles have a lifetime between 15 to 20 years.[27]

A submarine-launched version of Topol-M is being developed under the code name Bulava, or the NATO reporting name SS-NX-30.

Missile defense evasion capabilities

According to Russia the missile is designed to be immune to any current or planned U.S. missile defence system.[28] It is claimed to be capable of making evasive maneuvers to avoid a kill by terminal phase interceptors, and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys. It is shielded against radiation, EMP, nuclear explosions at distances over 500 meters, and is designed to survive a hit from any laser technology.[29]

One of the Topol-M's most notable features is its short engine burn time following take-off, intended to minimize satellite detection of launches and thereby complicate both early warning and interception by missile defense systems during boost phase. The missile also has a relatively flat ballistic trajectory, complicating defense acquisition and interception.[30]

According to The Washington Times, Russia has conducted a successful test of the evasive payload delivery system.[31] 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.

Equipment of Topol-M with MIRV

A new missile loosely based on Topol-M and equipped with multiple re-entry vehicles (MIRV) is called RS-24. In January 2009 Russian sources hinted that the production of the mobile Topol-M missile would be shutting down in 2009 and that the new MIRVed RS-24 version would replace it.[32]


As of 2009, the only operator of the Topol-M is Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces, with 65 missiles deployed.

In popular culture

The Topol-M appears in the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare,[33][34]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ SS-27 Sickle B
  4. ^ RS-12M1/2 Topol-M (SS-27/RT-2PM2) (Russian Federation), Offensive weapons
  5. ^ RT-2PMU? - Topol-M SS-27 - Russian / Soviet Nuclear Forces
  6. ^ Land-Based Ballistic Missiles
  7. ^ SS-27 (TOPOL-M, RS-12M1/-12M2)
  8. ^
  9. ^ SS-27 (TOPOL-M, RS-12M1/-12M2)
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Topol-M / RS-12M2, RT-2PM2, SS-27 Sickle B, SS-X-27
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ RS-12M1/2 Topol-M (SS-27/RT-2PM2) (Russian Federation), Offensive weapons
  17. ^ Topol-M: Missile Defense Penetrator by Michal Fiszer
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Strategic Missile Forces spokesman Col. Alexander Vovk, quoted by ITAR TASS.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ SS-27 (TOPOL-M, RS-12M1/-12M2)
  28. ^ General says Russia will counter U.S. missile defense plans
  29. ^ SS-27
  30. ^ Russia Approves Topol-M; Warns Missile Could Defeat U.S. Defense
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^

External links



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