A year ago, the Strategic Rocket Forces announced the plan to conduct 16 ICBM launches in 2014. Now it is time to see how many missiles were actually launched. According to the commander of the Rocket Forces, there were eight launches in 2014 so far and two more will take place later in December.
The breakdown of the 16 launches in the 2014 plan was as follows: two launches to extend service life of existing missiles, eleven launches as part of "experimental work on development of missiles, combat payloads, and missile defense penetration measures", a space launch, a launch to test a serial production missile, and a combat training launch.
The "serial production" and "combat training" launches are most likely the April 4, 2014 launch of RS-24 from Plesetsk and the Topol launch during the exercise on May 8, 2014. The latter was also used to confirm the service life of the missile, but it's probably in the training launch category.
The test of a silo-based Topol-M on November 1, 2014 is probably the only one in the category of launches used to extend service life of a missile.
Of the "experimental work and development" launches, there are only two Topol-E launches from Kapustin Yar that seem to be in this category - on March 4, 2014 and on May 20, 2014. It appears that Russia was planning the total of three Topol-E launched from Kapustin Yar in 2014, but there were no news on the third launch.
These are all officially announced ICBM launches - there are seven of them, not eight, which means that one is missing. Last year, there was a similar discrepancy - Karakayev said that the Rocket Forces conducted eight launches, but only seven were publicly accounted for. At that time it was suspected that the eight launch was a test of the UR-100NUTTH missile conducted some time in September 2013, probably from Dombarovskiy. But this has never been confirmed and reports about the September test were rather sketchy. It's possible, though, that there was a similar unannounced launch in 2014 as well - it's just that this time no information has leaked. Or maybe it was the third Topol-E launch from Kapustin Yar that went unreported.
The two remaining launches will probably fall in the "experimental" category. One is expected to be a launch of the RS-26 Rubezh missile. We will have to wait and see what is the other one. But in any event, it is clear that the Rocket Forces will not get to the 16 launches.
The 2015 plans are quite ambitious again - 14 launches total. Of these, nine will be "experimental and development", one "serial production" launch, and four in the categories of space launches and life extension (no further breakdown was given).