The U.S. State Department released aggregate New START numbers from the 1 September 2015 data exchange. Russia declared 1648 deployed warheads, 526 deployed launchers, and 877 total launchers. In March 2015 the numbers were 1582, 515, and 890 respectively.

The increase of 66 deployed warheads and nine launchers is most likely due to the deployment of Bulava missiles on the Alexander Nevskiy submarine that was completed in April 2015. Also, some older missiles were probably withdrawn from service.

The U.S. numbers in September 2015 were 1538 warheads, 762 deployed and 898 total launchers (1597, 785, and 898 in March 2015).

Alexander Nevskiy, a strategic submarine of the Project 955 class, arrived in Vilyuchink, Kamchatka on September 30, 2015 at 17:00 local time (8:00 MSK).

Alexander Nevskiy is the second submarine of its class and the first Project 955 submarine to be permanently based in Vilyuchinsk. It left its temporary base in Gadzhievo around August 18, 2015. Another Project 955 submarine, Vladimir Monomakh, is expected to transfer to the Pacific in 2016. To prepare for the arrival, the base in Vilyuchinsk has undergone extensive modernization.

It appears that the submarine is preparing to conduct a test launch of a Bulava missile from the Sea of Okhotsk to the Kanin Peninsula.

On September 24, 2015 at 01:00 MSK (22:00 September 23, 2015 UTC) the Space Forces conducted a successful launch of a Rockot space launcher with Briz-KM booster stage from the launch pad No. 3 of the launch complex No. 133 of the Plesetsk test site. The three spacecraft delivered into orbit are military communication satellites of the Strela-3M/Rodnik type.

The satellites received designations Cosmos-2507, Cosmos-2508, and Cosmos-2509 and international designations 2015-050A, 2015-050B, and 2015-050C. They are registered by NORAD as 40920, 40921, and 40922.

Previous launch of Rodnik-type satellites took place in May 2014. It also used the Rockot launcher, which is a converted UR-100NUTTH ICBM.

In the past, launches of the Rodnik-type satellites also delivered into orbit a small payload, unannounced at the time of the launch.

Hans Kristensen has an excellent post on the changes at the Rybachiy submarine base in Kamchatka in preparation for the arrival of the first Project 955 submarine, Alexander Nevskiy. In brief, the entire base, including the missile and warhead storage areas, gets a substantial upgrade. Go read it there - Hans has a great set of annotated satellite images.

Vladimir Monomakh submarine of the Project 955 Borey class returned to Severodvinsk on September 14, 2015 after four days at sea. The submarine left the port on September 10 and, according to notifications issued by Russia, was scheduled to launch a Bulava missile from the White Sea some time between 11 and 15 of September. However, since there was no report of the launch it is reasonable to assume that something did not go according to the plan.

According to a TASS report, Alexander Nevskiy submarine of the Project 955 class left its temporary base in Gadzhievo in mid-August for the permanent base in Vilyuchinsk in the Pacific. An analysis done by the "7 Feet Beneath the Keel" blog strongly suggests that the submarine sailed on or shortly after August 18, 2015. It is expected to arrive to Vilyuchink around September 7.

Alexander Nevskiy was reported to have the full complement of SLBMs on board in April 2015. The plan to transfer the submarine to the Pacific in August-September 2015 was announced shortly thereafter.

Following the Alexander Nevskiy news, it was confirmed that the third Project 955 submarine, Vladimir Monomakh, will remain with the Northern Fleet until late 2016, as previously planned. It is expected to conduct a Bulava launch from the Barents Sea in October-November 2015.

UPDATE 09/09/15: Subsequent reports suggested that the transfer will probably not be completed before the end of September. However, the reports are rather contradictory.

At 18:13 MSK (15:13 UTC) on August 22, 2015 the Strategic Rocket Forces carried out a successful launch of a Topol/SS-25 missile that was used to test "new combat payload for future ICBMs." The missile payload reported to have successfully reached its target at the Sary Shagan test site in Kazakhstan.

Although the official reports refer to the missile as Topol, it is most likely the Topol-E modification of the missile, which is used to rest experimental warheads in launches from Kapustin Yar to Sary-Shagan. Two launches of this kind took place in 2014, the last one -- in May 20, 2014. In fact, the Rocket Forces planned to conduct three launches that year, but didn't. It's possible that today's launch is the one that was moved from the 2014 schedule.

UPDATE 08/23/15: It appears that I missed one Topol launch from Kapustin Yar in 2014 - in an overview of the life extension programs Sergey Karakayev, the commander of the Rocket Forces, says that there were three Topol launches. Jonathan McDowell's list of suborbital launches has a Topol launch from Kapustin Yar on 11 November 2014. There was nothing in the news, however.

The Russian strategic aviation lost Tu-95MS strategic bomber today in an accident during a training flight in 80 km from Khabarovsk at 9:50 MSK. The crew managed to leave the plane, but two crew members died in the process. The bomber is said to have crashed in an unpopulated place.

This is the second loss of a Tu-95MS bomber in two months - on June 8, 2015 at about 17:00 MSK another bomber caught fire during takeoff. One crew member died in that accident.

UPDATE: Russian press reports that the bombers crashed after three or four of its engines failed. According to one report, the second Tu-95MS bomber in the tandem also suffered an engine failure.

The first satellite of the new space-based early-warning system, EKS, is expected to take place in November 2015, according to Oleg Maydanovich, the commander of the Space and Air Defense Forces.

A year ago, the launch of the new satellite, reportedly named Tundra, was expected to happen in 2014. Indeed, initial report about EKS suggested that the flight tests of the system would begin in 2009.

The system is believed to include ten satellites deployed on highly-elliptical orbits (and maybe on geosynchronous orbits as well). In addition to early-warning, EKS is expected to work as an element of the space situational awareness system (hence the E in EKS, for ""Edinaya Kosmicheskaya Systema" or "integrated Space System").

Russia has had no functioning early-warning satellites in orbit since the fall of 2014.

On June 23, 2015 at 19:44 MSK (16:44 UTC) Space and Air Defense Forces successfully launched a Soyuz-2.1b launcher from the launch pad No. 4 of the launch complex No. 43 of the Plesetsk test site. The satellite delivered into orbit was designated Cosmos-2506. It is believed to be a new Persona optical reconnaissance satellite.

The satellite was registered by NORAD as an object 40699 and was given international designation 2015-029A. It is expected to perform a transfer to a sun-synchronous circular orbit with apogee of about 720 km in a few days. UPDATE: The satellite raised its orbit to 707x725 km on June 28, 2015.

Previous launch of a Persona satellite, Cosmos-2486, took place on June 7, 2013.