On July 3, 2014 at 16:43:52 MSK (12:43:52 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 Gonets-M communication satellites (Nos. 18, 19, and 20).

The satellites have been assigned NORAD catalog numbers 40061, 40062, and 40063, their international designations are 2014-036A, 2014-036B, and 2014-036C.

Previous Rockot launch, with Strela/Rodnik satellites took place in May 2014. The most recent Gonets-M launch was in September 2013. It also used the Rockot launcher, which is a converted UR-100NUTTH ICBM.

As of March 1, 2014, the total number of Russia's deployed and non-deployed launchers accounted under New STARTwas 905, not 906 reported in Russia's original data submission. The corrected information was published by the U.S. State Department on July 1, 2014.

Russian press is quoting an unnamed source in the General Staff as saying that the first RS-26 ballistic missiles will be deployed at the Irkutsk missile division in 2015. Flight tests of the missile are expected to be completed in December 2014. The deployment date has been mentioned before, but the place is new.

RS-26, also known as Rubezh, is the controversial new missile, which appears to be an intermediate-range missile based on (the first two stages of) RS-24 Yars ICBM.

Deployment in Irkutsk is probably somewhat surprising. It was often assumed that because of its intermediate range RS-26 is a missile fir Europe - sort of new incarnation of SS-20. Irkutsk, however, is pretty far from Europe, so if we assume that RS-26 has a range on the order of 5000 km, then the deployment appears to be directed at China. This would be generally in line with Russia's complains about the INF Treaty - the main one being that other countries (including China) are allowed to have them while Russia and the United States are not. But if I were the Chinese I would not consider this deployment a particularly friendly gesture.

Irkutsk used to be one of the Topol/SS-25 divisions, but these missiles have been withdrawn from the division for some time. Some may still remain, but they are likely to be gone very soon. Indeed, at the basing area of one of the regiments (below) all Krona shelters (used by Topol) have been dismantled, but the base looks active otherwise.

Russia's only geostationary early-warning satellite, Cosmos-2479, launched in March 2012, has ceased operations. In March-April 2014 the satellite did not perform its regular station-keeping maneuver and, according to Kommersant, was formally declared nonoperational by the ministry of defense in April 2014.

Cosmos-2479 was a satellite of the 71Kh6 type that was developed as part of the US-KMO early-warning system, which was supposed to provide complete coverage of the northern hemisphere. However, the system never reached operational status and Cosmos-2479 was said to be the last 71Kh6 spacecraft. It was deployed at the point 166E (after a brief stop at 80E) and apparently worked with the Eastern Command Center that became operational in April 2012.

The loss of Cosmos-2379 leaves Russia's early-warning system with two satellites on highly-elliptical orbits - Cosmos-2422 and Cosmos-2446, launched in July 2006 and December 2008 respectively.

The Voronezh-DM early-warning radar in the Kaliningrad region reportedly began "experimental combat duty" and is expected to achieve full combat readiness in about three months, in September-October 2014.

The radar was first reported to begin operations in November 2011, although at the time it could not operate at full capacity. By the end of 2012, however, it did participate in the space surveillance network.

On June 19, 2014 the Strategic Rocket Forces with the support of the Kosmotras company carried out a successful launch of a Dnepr space launcher from the Yasnyy launch site at the Dombarovsky missile division. The launch took place at 23:11:11 MSK (19:11:11 UTC). The payload delivered into orbit included 33 satellites.

The Dnepr launcher is a converted R-36MUTTH/RS-20B/SS-18 missile. Previous Dnepr launch took place in November 2013. This appears to be the (single) space launch that was included by the Strategic Rocket Forces in their 2014 launch plan.

The two Dombarovsky silos that were used in Dnepr launches have been identified as follows:

1/1 - 51°03'56.19"N, 59°41'37.75"E - First two Dnepr launches
1/3 - 50°58'21.69"N, 59°33'04.01"E - Other Dnepr launches

The Strategic Rocket Forces released an update on the missile life extensions. Service life of R-36M2/SS-18 is said to be extended to 27 years, Topol/SS-25 - to 26 years. Also, the Rocket Forces expect UR-100NUTTH to serve 36 years and Topol-M - at least 15 years (this is likely to be extended later).

These numbers don't quite match what the Rocket Forces said before. Back in 2012, R-36M2 was said to be good for 30 years. Moreover, it was hoped that the missile could stay in service for 33 years. It is down to 27 years now. I wouldn't rule out that the reduction was a result of the recent events in Ukraine, which made it more difficult to count on Yuzhmash representatives to service the missiles.

Topol seems to get a cut as well - with the 26 years service life it would remain on duty until about 2018 - the last missiles were deployed in 1992. Earlier it was expected to remain active until 2021. It's possible, however, that some Topol missiles were manufactured and deployed after 1992, so it may well be that it would indeed stay until 2021.

The confidence in UR-100NUTTH, on the other hand, seems to be growing - it got an extension from 35 (reported in December 2013) to 36 years.

On June 14, 2014 the Space and Air Defense Forces performed a successful launch of a Soyuz-2.1b rocket from the launch complex No. 43 of the Plesetsk space launch site. The launch took place at 21:17 MSK (21:17 UTC). The satellite that the rocket and its Fregat boost stage delivered into orbit is a Glonass-M navigation satellite.

The satellite received international designation 2014-032A and was registered by NORAD as object 40001. There was no official information about its Cosmos designation, but it appears that the satellites was designated Cosmos-2500.

Previous Glonass-M launch took place in March 2014.

Vladimir Monomakh submarine of the Project 955 Borey class began sea trials today, June 11, 2014. Vladimir Monomakh is the third submarine of its class. Its construction began in March 2006, the submarine was launched in December 2012. It is expected to conduct its first missile launch in September 2014 and join the fleet by the end of the year. Then it will be transferred to the Pacific, where it will conduct another missile launch.

Ekaterinburg submarine of the Project 667BDRM class is expected to be launched today after extensive repairs that followed the December 2011 fire. The submarine arrived to Zvezdochka ship repair plant in June 2012 and is expected to return to service by the end of 2014.

According to the Zvezdochka account of the repair work, the next submarine to enter repairs is K-144 Tula, which completed its last overhaul in 2006. The overhaul is expected to take about two years - after that (presumably in 2016) Zvezdochka will receive K-117 Bryansk, which was in overhaul in 2002-2007. (Bryansk was also spotted in a dry dock in 2012).