Friday, October 3, 2008
Cold War Redux: Russia to deploy new nukes
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia hopes to deploy a new nuclear missile next year designed to penetrate anti-missile defenses and will build eight submarines to carry it, defense officials said on Thursday.
The latest statements underline Moscow's determination to upgrade its nuclear strike forces on land, sea and air. They are regarded by Russian commanders as the cornerstone of the country's defenses.
Colonel-General Vladimir Popovkin, head of armaments for the Russian armed forces, told the Defense Ministry newspaper "Red Star" that Russia's recent war with Georgia "compels us to rethink the current state of the armed forces and how they should develop further."
President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have both pledged to extend Russia's recent military build-up with extra funds to buy new, high-tech arms. On Wednesday, Putin announced an extra $3.1 billion of spending next year, partly to replace equipment lost in the Georgia war.
Despite the billions of dollars spent on them since Putin came to power as president in 2000, Russia's 1 million-strong armed forces remain poorly equipped, badly paid and reliant on a large proportion of unwilling conscripts.
The deputy commander in chief of the Russian navy, Admiral Alexander Tatarinov, said on Thursday that by 2015 Moscow would build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to carry a new, nuclear-capable strategic missile.
"The navy has gone over to building ships and nuclear submarines by the batch," Tatarinov told Interfax news agency.
"A new state armaments program includes a plan to build a batch of eight nuclear submarines that would be armed with new Bulava strategic missiles."
Posted by Steve Douglass at 12:01 PM