According to the Russian government, the third successful launch of the RS-24 Rocket from the Plesetsk space center in northwest Russia was conducted on November 26, 2008. The first two launches took place in May and December of 2007 respectively. It was reported that the rocket traveled 6,000 miles across Russia to the Kamchatka Peninsula, where the missile's multiple re-entry vehicles successfully landed on targets on the testing range.
The new rocket is expected to replace the older Ukrainian-made RS-18 and RS-20 which are also known as the SS-19 Stilletto and the SS-18 Satan. In conjunction with the Topol-M, this new missile system will become the foundation of Russia’s strategic missile forces until the year 2050!
Yuri Solomonov, the chief designer of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, announced last summer that the RS-24 could penetrate any defense system and that in all likelihood, this enhanced development of the Topol-M missile would be deployed in 2009. Since the deployment may begin before the current START Treaty expires in December of 09, this means that the Russian RS-24 will be declared as a new missile.
In his speech, Solomonov pointed out (and justly so) that if there is a limit on the number of warheads, it would make more sense to spread those warheads among many launchers rather than concentrate them on a small number of large-throw weight missiles. The Russian press is divided on this issue and is full of fluctuating opinions suggesting that US satellites can easily detect mobile missiles on patrol.
As far as the Russian RS-24 rocket is concerned, the weary world will just have to wait and see what effects it will have in the nuclear balance of things. It is a tense shoulder over which we look.