Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces have successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) during a military exercise, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced on September 9, according to TASS news agency.
The test launch of the nuclear-capable Topol-M (aka RS12M2/NATO reporting name SS-27) or more advanced Topol MR (aka SR-24 Yars/NATO reporting name SS-27 Mod2) ICBM—the defense ministry did not specify the missile type—took place at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, in Arkhangelsk Oblast, approximately 800 kilometers north of Moscow.
One of the rationales behind the missile launch was to test whether the ICBM can penetrate advanced missile defense systems. According to the defense ministry, the ICBM succeeded in doing so and successfully destroyed a target at a testing ground on the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia’s Far East.
At the beginning of 2016, the Strategic Missile Forces announced that they will conduct 16 ICBM test launches in 2016–with 14 dedicated to testing new missiles and warheads—and over a hundred exercises in total (See: “Russia to Launch 16 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles in 2016”). Given the emphasis on new missile systems, it is likely that the test involved a new variant of the Topol ICBM family such as the Topol MR.