The U.S. State Department released aggregate New START numbers from the 1 March 2015 data exchange. The release shows that at that date Russia reported having 515 deployed launchers and 1582 operationally deployed warheads. It also reported having 890 total launchers.

Compared to the September 1, 2014 data, the number of launchers decreased - from 528 to 515. The number of warheads decreased more dramatically - from 1643 to 1582. The total number of launchers went from 911 to 890.

The corresponding U.S. numbers are 785 deployed launchers, 1597 warheads, and 898 total launchers.

On March 31, 2015 at 16:47:56 MSK (13:47:56 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 launcher delivered into orbit three Gonets-M communication satellites (21L, 22L, and 23L) and a small satellite designated as Cosmos-2504.

According to the designer of the system, the Information Satellite Systems, this launch completes the deployment of the Gonets-D1M communication system, which now includes 12 satellites. Previous Gonets-M launch took place in July 2014. Russia alos operates a military counterpart of the Gonets system, known as Strela (or Rodnik). The most recent launch of this program took place in May 2014.

The Gonets satellites have been assigned NORAD catalog numbers 40552, 40553, and 40554, their international designations are 2015-020A, 2015-020B, and 2015-020C.

The Cosmos-2504 satellite, launched along with the Gonets-Ms, is believed to be a small maneuvering satellite similar to Cosmos-2499, which was also a supplementary payload in the May 2014 launch. It appears that its the object 2015-020D/40555.

According to a report in Kommersant, Russia conducted a test of the RS-26 missile on March 18, 2015. The missile was launched from the Kapustin Yar test site and the warheads (or warhead) successfully reached the target at the Sary-Shagan site.

Kommersant reports that the missile will soon be formally accepted for service and that its deployment will begin in 2016 (confirming the earlier reports). It also said that first RS-26 missiles will be deployed in Irkutsk, but that appears to be a reference to an old story.

Reports about a March RS-26 launch appeared earlier. Previous test launch of the RS-26 missile took place in June 2013.

UPDATE: Interfax is quoting a source in the ministry of defense as saying that RS-26 differs from RS-24 in that it has fewer stages and a shorter range. If true, this appears to confirm that RS-26 is a two-stage missile based on RS-24 very much in the way SS-20 was a two-stage version of Temp-2S.

On March 25, 2015 22:08:46 UTC (March 26, 2015 03:08:46 local time) 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 missile payload delivered into orbit included South Korean Kompsat-3A satellite.

The Dnepr launcher is a modified R-36MUTTH (SS-18/RS-20B) missile. Previous Dnepr launch took place in November 2014.

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On February 27, 2015, at 14:01 MSK (11:01 UTC), the Space and Air Defense Forces carried out a successful launch of a Soyuz-2.1a launcher from the launch pad No. 4 of the launch complex No. 3 of the Plesetsk launch site. The satellite delivered into orbit is believed to be a next-generation optical reconnaissance satellite referred to as Bars-M. The satellite was developed and produced by the Progress Rocket and Space Center.

According to an official statement, the satellite is designated Cosmos-2503. It was registered as object 40420 by NORAD and received international designation 2015-009A. On March 3, 2015 it was transferred to a sun-synchronous orbit (550 x 563 km x 97.6 deg).

Russia appears to have conducted a flight test of the Project 4202 vehicle on February 26, 2015 from one of the silos in Dombarovskiy. Project 4202 is believed to be some kind of a hypersonic vehicle that will be delivered by the UR-100NUTTH/SS-19 missile. (See also the earlier post.)

Project 4202 launches have never been officially acknowledged, but bits of information appear here and there and there are enough dots to connect, so there is a fairly high degree of certainty that the launch indeed took place. (I must say that I can claim no credit for finding the dots - most of them have been discovered by others.)

First, TsENKI (Center for Operation of Space Ground-Based Infrastructure) in its 2014 acquisition plan listed two Project 4202-related contracts. In the document, the launch is scheduled to take place in January 2015, but it was later postponed. Industry sources were said to confirm that the test was moved to February.

And indeed, on February 26, 2015 a note on a Russian site, which is known to be well connected and generally reliable, said something to the effect that a test is upcoming. The post has been removed since, but only after it was updated to say that the test was unsuccessful.

Finally, a number of people have found a message posted by someone from Yasnyy (which is the name of the city at the Dombarovskiy missile base) later on February 26. The author said that in Yasnyy people felt a missile launch that took place around 13:00 local time (that would be 8:00 UTC).

The February 26, 2015 launch is not the first flight test of the Project 4202 system - at least one took place around September 26, 2013. It appears that another test took place some time in 2014, maybe in September. All we know about the 2014 test is that there is an unaccounted event in the official record of launches conduced that year (the 2013 4202 launch also was not included in the official account). None of the test appear to have been successful.

I guess we'll have to wait for a successful flight test to see an official report on Project 4202 and learn more about the system.

For a while, it appeared that deployment of Topol-M missiles in silos was discontinued after the number of missiles reached 60 at the end of 2012. Deployment of the last four missiles took more than a year, so it did seem that the program is approaching the end. But no, as it turns out, the deployment continued and a couple of stories today mentioned that there are now seven Topol-M regiments in Tatishchevo and more are probably to come.

There were reports in the fall of last year that there is a quite a bit of new construction at the Tatishchevo maintenance base (below), so we should probably expect that at some point all UR-100NUTTH missiles there will be replaced by Topol-M.


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Two satellites of the old US-KS/Oko system that until recently maintained some coverage of ballistic missile launches, stopped functioning some time in the fall of 2014, leaving Russia without space-based tier of the early-warning system. Cosmos-2422 (29260, launched in July 2006) failed to perform an orbit correction maneuver due in September 2014. Cosmos-2446 (33447, December 2008) also failed in September-October 2014 and is currently drifting off its working orbit. The Kommersant newspaper, which first reported the news, appears to have an independent confirmation of the satellites' demise.

Here is how it looks like on a chart that shows evolution of the satellites mean motion (revolutions a day):

Cosmos-2422.png
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These two satellites were old satellites of the 73D6 type that were deployed on highly-elliptical orbits and worked as part of the US-KS system to provide Russia with a capability to detect ballistic missile launches from the U.S. territory. Each satellites was in a position to see the launches for about six hours a day. Technically, four satellites are needed to provide a 24-hour coverage, but a reliable detection required more than double of that amount - there were nine slots in the constellation plus one 73D6 satellite on a geostationary orbit (for more details, see my old Science & Global Security article). The US-KS system was supposed to be complemented by the 71Kh6 satellites of the UK-KMO system deployed on geostationary orbit, but that system has never became fully operational. The last 71Kh6 satellite, Cosmos-2479 (38101), launched in March 2012, stopped operations in March-April 2014.

The loss of early-warning satellites may seem very dramatic, but in reality it is not as important for Russia as, for example, a loss of the DSP satellites would be for the United States. The Soviet Union (and now Russia) had never had the luxury to fully rely on what is known as "dual phenomenology" in early-warning, which would require any attack to be detected by satellites and radars. I looked into this in another Science & Global Security article. Here is a figure from that article that shows that from Russia's point of view, in the attack scenarios that involve SLBMs, satellites wouldn't add much time to the deliberations (even if they can detect SLBM launches, which US-KS satellites couldn't):

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To deal with the reality of the very short detection times, the Soviet Union invested quite a bit of effort into building a command and control system that could provide insurance against a decapitating bolt out of the blue strike. The system included a number of arrangements, such as pre-delegation of authority and reliance on a number of backup communication channels that included the Perimeter command missiles (still operational, by the way). If you have a copy of the Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces book, check pages 59-66 for a detailed description (which I was told is quite accurate). If you don't have a copy, get one. In the end, there was a dual phenomenology of sorts, but the second tier was provided by the system that would detect actual nuclear detonations on the Russian soil. And, no, it was not an automatic Dead Hand.

The bottom line is that space-based early-warning was a useful, but not a crucial component of the Russian early-warning system. So, it's a loss, but not a dramatic one. Russia, of course, is working on a new system, known as EKS. Way back in 2007 it was expected that the first satellite of the new system will be flown in 2009, but then it slipped behind schedule quite a few times. The satellite, named Tundra (14F142), was supposed to be ready for a maiden flight some time in 2014, but that didn't happen. Now, Kommersant reports that the launch is scheduled for June 2015. We will see.

Deputy minister of defense Yuri Borisov, told RSN radio that the Sarmat development program is well on track and the first tests of the missile (pop-up tests from a silo) will take place in 2015. The missile, according to Borisov, will be ready to begin service in 2020, as planned.

So, the missile will make an appearance in 2015 as Sergey Karakayev suggested earlier. The new announcement also seems to be consistent with the plan to begin actual flight tests in 2017.

Borisov also suggested that the missile will be able to "deliver payloads" of up to 10 tonnes, fly over the South Pole, if necessary, and overall being superior to the R-36M/SS-18 line of ICBMs. At this point is is difficult to tell if these claims are correct, but none of this is technically impossible. Whether it's reasonable is another matter.

Replacement of old road-mobile Topol/SS-25 missiles with newer Topol-M and RS-25 Yars is one of the key components of Russia's modernization program. Although the service life of Topol was recently extended to 25 years, which will allow the missile to remain in service until about 2021, it has been steadily withdrawn from service for some time now. Of the original 360 Topol missiles that the Soviet Union had in the early 1990s, about 100 appeared to still remain in force. Or maybe even fewer - according to the Ministry of Defense end-of-year report (mp4 file), 43% of the Strategic Rocket Force ICBMs are "modern systems" (it's at 6:38). It appears that to make this number work one would need to assume that the number of Topol ICBMs in service is closer to 60-70.

This post attempts to bring together the pieces of information about road-mobile bases and recent developments, including deployment of Topol-M and RS-24 Yars. This is very much work in progress, so comments and corrections are welcome.

A note on missile unit identification: the starting point for most of the division, regiment, and military unit numbers was the Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN) web site put together by Michael Holm. The site has a lot of good information, including the history of the Strategic Rocket Forces, locations, and names of commanders. It got a few names and designations wrong, however - the numbers below are carefully checked against various open sources - forum posts, photos, and videos. I am reasonably confident I got everything right. Most divisions use internal designations for their regiments and subunits - the 1st regiment or the 16th area (площадка). I added these names as they help better identify the units. Another extremely useful resource is the overview of the Strategic Rocket Forces put together by Kommersant back in 2009. At this point I did not include the full unit names (they are quite long and hard to translate sometimes) and did not add "Guards" to the names of Guards missile regiments. I added links to Google Maps, but to see the full picture one needs to look up the places on Google Earth (or, in a few cases, on Bing and Yandex). I hope that coordinates will help to do it easily.

At the time the START Treaty was signed in 1990, the Soviet Union had nine road-mobile ICBM bases - Teykovo (36 missiles), Yoshkar-Ola (18, later increased to 36), Yur'ya (45), Nizhniy Tagil (45), Novosibirsk (27, increased to 45), Kansk (27, increased to 45), Irkutsk (36), Barnaul (36), Drovyanaya (0, increased to 18), Vypolzovo (0, increased to 18). Each base houses a missile division, which included a number of missile regiments. Each regiment ("raketnyy polk") would have nine missiles, organized in three battalions ("division" in Russian, as opposed to "diviziya" for a missile division). Each regiment would have its own basing area with large garages for the support vehicles (normally one garage in a battalion) and so-called Krona shelters - one for each TEL. It appears that TELs are normally housed in their shelters, where they can be put on combat duty in a fully automatic mode - just like their silo-based brethren, but without the protection offered by a silo. Some bases have semi-underground shelters for TELs as well. Here is how a typical Topol regiment looks like (this one is in Barnaul):

SS25RegimentBarnaul2.png

The missiles would occasionally go on patrol, which could last three weeks or as long as two months. It appears that each battalion can go on patrol independently, but it's also possible that a patrol involves the entire regiment. While on patrol, the missiles don't roam around - they move to a stationary position somewhere in the woods, pull on a masking net and wait for a launch order. Battalions could probably change a few positions during a longer patrol, but it's unlikely they do that, since each transfer would mean doing the "maskirovka" again, which actually defeats its purpose. I was told by someone whose job was to search for signs of Topols on satellite images back in the 1980s that they are virtually impossible to find (in fact, it turned out it was easier to see the foxholes dug by the protection force than the actual missiles). On the other hand, the technology is much better now - I recently saw a presentation that showed how SAR images could tell you if there was a movement on a road about a day after the event, so hiding in obscure places is getting difficult. To get a sense how a patrol looks like you could find quite a few videos that show it, like this one.

Now, the bases. All Topol missiles were removed from three divisions - Drovyanaya (4th missile division, Chita-46, Gorniy), Yur'ya (8th missile division), and Kansk (23rd guards missile division). The 4th and the 23rd divisions were disbanded in the 2000s, but the 4th division in Yur'ya apparently lives on. So, it will go first.

Yur'ya (4th Missile Division)

In 2007 Russia listed Yur'ya as a test site for the purposes of START treaty and in 2010 it received a new commander. Russia declared 9 non-deployed SS-25 missiles at Yur'ya to the very end of the START data exchange, and apparently one of the sites - the 76th missile regiment (59.21946, 49.4256, в/ч 49567, 3 площадка) is still active. The word is that the regiment operates command missiles of the Perimeter command and control system (the missile system is known as 15P175 Sirena) - this sounds about right. The other four basing areas of the Yur'ya division look abandoned.

The command missiles at Yur'ya are probably not accounted for in the New START as deployed missiles - it's likely that the base is declared as a test range, which means that all launchers there are counted as test launchers. It worked for START, so it works for New START too.

Teykovo (54th Guards Missile Division)

The Teykovo division was the first that accepted new road-mobile missiles - Topol-M and then RS-24 Yars. In 1990, the division included four regiments with the total of 36 Topol missiles. All these regiments are still active today.

The first two regiments that were converted to Topol-M are the 321st regiment (56.93211, 40.54313, в\ч 21663, 1-й полк) and the 235th regiment (56.70417, 40.4375, в\ч 12465, 2-й полк). In both places, there was construction of the support buildings - barracks and so on, but the garages and shelters remained in place and it appears that they are the same structures that were used for Topol missiles.

The two regiments that received mobile RS-24 Yars - the 285th Guards missile regiment (56.80944, 40.17111, в\ч 12416, 3-й полк) and the 773rd missile regiment (56.91541, 40.30843, в\ч 43656, 4-й полк) - were somewhat different. There was no new construction at either site until about 2011 (last Google Earth imagery), although the Krona shelters were taken down in the 773rd regiment some time before September 2009. The Bing image of the regiment shows new construction activity - the garages and shelters are being built anew in new places (although the general outline of the base is intact). There are no post-2011 images of the 285th regiment, but since we know that RS-24 is deployed there, we can assume that the base underwent a similar transformation - old garages and shelters have been replaced by new ones.

Novosibirsk (39th Guards Missile Division)

The 39th division is located in Pashino, near Novosibirsk. In 1990, it had three active regiments with 27 Topol missiles, but by 1994 the number of missiles reached 45 (five regiments). The number of missiles (as reported in START) was reduced to 36 in 2008, but the shelters apparently were still in place. Still, it appears that one regiment - the 826th Guards missile regiment (55.36696, 83.23493, в\ч 12423, 23 площадка) - has been disbanded.

Most of the sites in the area has reasonably recent satellite shots - from September 2014. The only place where construction is visible is the 428th regiment (55.31046,83.02408, в\ч 44197, 13 площадка). Old garages and shelters have been taken down and new ones have been built. There is little doubt that this is the first RS-24 Yars regiment in Novosibirsk that reportedly began combat duty in December 2013.

According to the Rocket Forces, the service received 12 mobile RS-24 Yars missiles in 2014. It's not clear if the Novosibirsk division got any of these, but it appears that they would have nowhere to go, as none of the sites look ready to accept them. There is some activity at the site of the site of the 382nd regiment (55.31745, 83.16841, в\ч 44238, 21 площадка) - dismantlement of old shelters began at some point in the 2013, but no new construction is visible on the September 2014 images. This is probably the second regiment of the 39th division that will receive RS-24 missiles, but it is not quite there yet.

The other two regiments seem to be unaffected by the changes. Some sources suggested that the 357th regiment (55.32551, 82.94215, в\ч 54097, 12 площадка) has been prepared to receive RS-24 since 2012, but there is no activity at the site, so that information is incorrect. The 773rd regiment (55.38045, 82.91891, в\ч 07399, 11 площадка) was transferred to Teykovo (where is became в\ч 43656).

The bottom line appears to be that there are three "alive" regiments in Novosibirsk. We know that the 428th regiment has nine RS-24 Yars missiles. As for the other two, it is likely that all SS-25/Topol missiles have been removed to make room for RS-24, but the conversion has not been completed yet.

Nizhniy Tagil (42nd Missile Division)

The Nizhniy Tagil division is the third division that is being converted to RS-24 Yars. The division had five regiments in 1990, but by 2009 Russia reported that only three regiments had deployed missiles.

The 617th regiment (58.080077, 60.211, в\ч 12830, 12 площадка) was reportedly disbanded in 2008. The site looks quite neglected, so it is probably safe to assume that this regiment is not active anymore.

The 308th regiment(58.230585, 60.67646, в\ч 54258, 21 площадка) was disbanded in 2004. The site was very much in ruins in 2009, when the last START data exchange took place, so this is the second disbanded regiment of the 42nd division.

The location, however, was later used to build an entirely new base - the one that apparently operates RS-24 missiles. It is the new base that is clearly visible on the current satellite images. We know that the division received six RS-24 Yars missiles in December 2013 and more - in 2014. But let's return to the RS-24 deployment later.

The 804th regiment (58.13748, 60.53811, в\ч 9430, 11 площадка) was very much intact in 2009, but had some of its shelters dismantled starting in 2012-2013. Since no new construction was visible in June 2014, it's safe to assume that no missiles, whether Topol or Yars, were deployed there in 2014.

There is not much activity at the 142nd regiment base (58.19598, 60.58049, в\ч 73795, 5 площадка) - all Krona shelters were in place in May 2014. Nothing is happening in the 433rd regiment (58.10153, 60.35971, в\ч 19972, 1 площадка) as well - the most recent image there is from September 2014.

So, it is not entirely clear where the new RS-24 Yars missiles that were reported to have begun service in 2014 are based. There is some construction at the division technical base (RTB, 58.10035,60.43318), but nothing that would house missile launchers.

So, where are the RS-24 missiles in Nizhniy Tagil? Nine could be theoretically deployed at the new site built at the 308th regiment location (we don't know if the new regiment will retain the number; probably not). But as of the last image, 2 June 2014, the site looks pretty far from complete. Probably this is why only six missiles were deployed there in 2013. But in 2014 the Rocket Forces reportedly received 12 new mobile RS-24. These presumably were distributed between Novosibirsk and Nizhniy Tagil. Three of these 12 probably joined the new RS-24 regiment. But there is no place for the other nine to go - whether in Novosibirsk or in Nizhniy Tagil.

[UPDATE: As Alexander points out in his very detailed comment, it was the 804th regiment that received Yars missiles in 2013. It's not clear if it was relocated to the newly constructed site (21st site/308th regiment) - its own 11th site was not nearly ready at the time and still not ready. Apparently, there is a strong paper trail of construction activity at the 5th site/142nd regiment and 11th site/804th regiment. It seems likely that some reshuffling of regiments and their sites took place, but the bottom line seems to be that two RS-24 regiments are active in Nizhniy Tagil (even if the base of the second one is not quite ready yet) and at least one additional regiment will be deployed there in the next year or so.]

Yoshkar-Ola (14th Missile Division)

The division in Yoshkar-Ola included four regiments with Topol missiles back in the 1990s, although the START data exchange showed that missile shelters were constructed only in three of them. One regiment was indeed disbanded and removed from START declarations in 2003 - most likely it is the 702nd missile regiment (56.597515, 48.358512, в\ч 68530).

As the satellite imagery shows, three regiments of the Yoshkar-Ola division were very much operational in 2014: the 290th missile regiment (56.83194, 48.24083 in Google Maps and a better image on Yandex, в\ч 93876, площадка 1к), the 779th missile regiment (56.5825, 48.15472&, в\ч 69795, 1 площадка) and the 697th missile regiment (56.56, 48.21528, в\ч 48404, 16 площадка).

There are no signs of activity at either of the three active sites (the most recent imagery is from February 2014 for the 290th regiment and from September 2014 for the other two), so it appears that they are all operational with SS-25/Topol missiles. Apparently there is a plan to deploy RS-24 Yars in Yoshkar-Ola, but so far nothing visible has been done there.

[UPDATE: There are signs in Spetsstroy papers that something will be built at the 1st site/779th regiment as well as at two additional sites, which currently don't have deployed missiles. So, there seems to be indeed a plan to deploy Yars missiles here. But it's not clear yet how many of them.]

Irkutsk (29the Guards Missile Division)

In the 1990 START exchange data, Russia declared four Topol missile regiments in the Irkutsk division. Since then, one of the regiments have beed disbanded - at the base of the 345th missile regiment (52.57028, 104.80889, в\ч 40883, 4-й полк) all shelters had been removed by mid-2007. The regiments has disappeared from all social (not to mention the mainstream) media since then, so it is safe to say that it has indeed been disbanded.

Of the three remaining regiments, two appear to be active - the 344th missile regiment (52.66944, 104.51972, в\ч 52933, 2-й полк) and the 586th missile regiment (52.55167, 104.15861, в\ч 52009, 3-й полк). Their shelters are intact and no construction activity is seen on the site. All indications are that these regiments still operate SS-25/Topol missiles.

The 92nd missile regiment (52.50861, 104.39333, в\ч 48409, 1-й полк) is quite different. The shelters there are last seen fully intact on the 9//7/2010 image and by 9/15/2012 all shelters are gone. There is no other construction activity at the site, however. It's possible that the regiment is being prepared to be disbanded, just like the 345th regiment before it. Another possibility is that it is being prepared for RS-26 deployment, which some reports indicated will begin in Irkutsk in 2015 (it is now postponed until 2016).

Barnaul (35th Missile Division)

There are four missile regiments in the Barnaul division - the 479th Guards missile regiment (53.769921, 83.95915, в\ч 29517, 1-й полк), the 480th missile regiment (53.3059, 84.14618, в\ч 29562, 3-й полк), the 867th missile regiment (53.22468, 84.6695, в\ч 29551, 4-й полк), and the 307th missile regiment (53.31306, 84.5075, в\ч 29532, 2-й полк).

The imagery of the 867th and 307th regiments is rather old - from April 2009 and June 2005 respectively. However, judging from the traffic these regiments get in various social media, the regiments are very much operational. So, it's quite likely that the division in Barnaul has the full complement of 36 SS-25/Topol missiles in service.

Vypolzovo (7th Guards Missile Division)

There were no Topol missiles deployed in Vypolzovo in 1990, but by the end of the 1990s two regiments with 18 missiles were deployed there - the 41st missile regiment (57.86305, 33.65167, в\ч 14264, 1-й полк) and the 510th missile regiment (57.78825, 33.86542, в\ч 52642, 2-й полк).

Both sites look well-maintained, with no signs of recent construction or other activity, so it's possible that the Vypolzovo division has 18 operational Topol missiles. There was one report that suggested that RS-26 will be deployed in Vypolzovo at some point, but it's not clear if that report was reliable. In any event, that deployment is not imminent.

[UPDATE 01/14/2015: The division just completed an exercise, so it is very much active.]

Summary

So, where does this leave us? First, it is easy to count Topol-M missiles - there are 18 of them in Teykovo. Also, we could say with certainty that there are 18 RS-24 Yars missiles in Teykovo as well. Two additional RS-24 regiments - one in Novosibirsk and one in Nizhniy Tagil - can be reliably identified, brining the number of RS-24 regiments to four. These have place for 36 missiles, but the total number of RS-24 Yars missiles appears to be 45: 18 in Teykovo plus 15 deployed in Novosibirsk and Nizhniy Tagil in 2013, plus 12 added to the force in 2014. Nine RS-24 missiles appear to be "homeless". So, it's probably not all that surprising that the RS-24 deployment in 2014 fell short of the original goal - the bases are not ready yet.

As for the SS-25/Topol missiles, there are 14 regiments in six divisions that look like they are capable of operating SS-25. That's 126 missiles. Which seems too high - there is no way Russia keeps 126 old Topols and claim that 43% of its ICBMs are new. My guess is that quite about half of these 14 regiments are in "stand down" mode. The obvious candidates are the three regiments in Novosibirsk and Nizhniy Tagil, which are being converted to RS-24 Yars. The division in Irkutsk may also be preparing for a transfer to a different class of missiles (RS-26 in this case) - that's two more regiments. Maybe there are two others in Yoshkar-Ola and Vypolzovo, which may be prepared to convert to RS-24. But it's all just a guess at this point.

The bottom line is that I will assume that as of January 2015 Russia has 72 SS-25 Topol missiles in active force. This is somewhat arbitrary, but it's not a totally unreasonable assumption. I hope that we'll see more activity on these sites that would allow to make a better estimate. Comments are appreciated, of course. (Unfortunately, I had to close anonymous comments - the amount of spam is unbelievably high. Please feel free to register on the site - your registration information will never be used for any purposes.)

[UPDATE: Alexander believes that the evidence shows that Topol missiles are no longer deployed in Novosibirsk, Nizhniy Tagil, and Irkutsk. If this is the case, we are left with four regiments in Barnaul, two in Vypolzovo, and up to three in Yoshkar-Ola - this is up to 81 missiles. If one of the Yoshkar-Ola regiments is preparing for conversion to Yars, we'll get 72 missiles.]