The Air and Space Defense Forces conducted a test of the new interceptor of the Moscow missile defense system at the Sary-Shagan test site. According to a VKS representative, "after a series of tests the interceptor fully confirmed technical characteristics of the interceptor and the combat crews successfully completed the mission by hitting the notional target with required accuracy." The test appears to have taken place on 16 September 2021.

2021-09-17-ABM-Test.png The video appears to show defragmentation of the interceptor at a fairly low altitude (at 0:40 h/t DS). It is not clear if this was a planned event or a range safety detonation.

Previous test of the interceptor took place in April 2021.

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Silo-based multiple-warhead ICBMs have a consistently bad reputation with the arms control crowd and nuclear hawks alike. We all know the argument - these are highly vulnerable and very lucrative targets that undermine stability in every possible way. Since a single MIRVed missile can potentially destroy several MIRVed missiles of the opposing force, taking out a lot of warheads, the incentives to strike first seem almost irresistible. As does the urge to "use them or lose them" - if I know that the opponent can destroy my entire ICBM force with only of fraction of his own, I better launch my missiles before he has that chance. Silo-based ICBMs are thought to be the worst since they appear to be of no use unless launched in a preemptive strike or at the first sign of an incoming attack.

This logic has been guiding arms control discussions as well as the actual arms control and disarmament process ever since first MIRVed missiles were deployed in the early 1970s. It became one of those dogmas of the nuclear age that have never been questioned, let alone contested. But it probably should be. The issue with this logic is that it rests on an implicit assumption that both sides build their strategic nuclear forces with warfighting and damage limitation in mind.

Details could be somewhat complicated, and they are rarely spelled out explicitly anyway, but it is fair to say that damage limitation has always been the primary mission of the US nuclear force. In the best tradition of mirror-imaging, it was automatically assumed that the Soviet nuclear force was built around the same idea. Why else would the Soviet Union deploy all those heavy (and heavily MIRVed) ICBMs if not to launch a disarming attack against US silos?

Well, there is precisely zero evidence that the Soviet Union ever contemplated attacking US silo-based missiles, whether as part of a first strike or in an attempt to limit the damage during a nuclear exchange. It built its MIRVed missiles for entirely different reasons.

To understand what happened, we need to go back to the early days of the Soviet program. At the end of the 1960s, when MIRVed missiles became a technical reality, the Soviet Union had a force that included about 1000 light and inexpensive UR-100/SS-11 missiles and about 200 "heavy" R-36/SS-9 ICBMs. It appears that a preemptive strike was indeed the primary option that the Soviet military had in mind at the time, but there is no way the purpose of such a strike was to blunt a US response, limit damage to the Soviet Union, and somehow emerge "victorious" from the nuclear exchange. The missiles were simply not capable of that - the only mission they could accomplish was to deliver a certain number of warheads to the US territory - unacceptable damage and all that. Striking first was the only way to achieve that.

But wasn't the new generation of missiles, with multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles, developed to do what their predecessors couldn't - limit the damage in a nuclear exchange by launching a first disarming strike against the opponent's ICBMs? Since this is how the United States was planning to use its own MIRVed ICBM force, it seemed like a sensible thing to do.

In reality, building a first strike capability what exactly the opposite of what the Soviet Union was about to do. Even before the Soviet Union embarked on its modernization program that will eventually produce its first MIRVed missiles, it initiated a thorough review of its nuclear posture. This discussion became known as a "small civil war" as it was a rather high-intensity conflict between two factions. The military (Andrey Grechko, the minister of defense, in particular) argued that any change would be too complex and expensive and that simple missiles in relatively soft silos provide reliable deterrence as long as they are deployed in large numbers and a preemptive strike is an option. The military were supported by Sergey Afanasyev, the head of the Ministry of the General Machine Building. They also had Vladimir Chelomey, the designer of the UR-100 missile, on their side. The opposing group argued that relying on a force of vulnerable missiles is not a sustainable (or, indeed, reasonable) option and advocated a move to hardened silos and retaliation as the strategy. Among the prominent members of that group were Yuri Mozzhorin, the head of TsNIIMash, and Leonid Smirnov, the head of the Military-Industrial Commission. Importantly, the group had support of Dmitry Ustinov, a Secretary of the Central Committee.

To examine the issue, the Soviet leadership set up a commission, chaired by Academician Mstislav Keldhysh. The commission, which included scientists (Khariton, Aleksandrov), the military, and representatives of the industry, worked for over a year, apparently around 1968. It concluded its work with a strong recommendation to adopt the retaliatory-strike posture (a.k.a. otvetnyy udar, a "deep second strike," or a "strike after ride-out") and to begin the silo hardening program. This choice was formally confirmed at a special session of the Defense Council that took place in July 1969. The military decided not to fight the decision, even if somewhat reluctantly. Chelomey changed his position as well and joined the winning side.

Note that the 1969 decision was not yet about the choice between MR UR-100 and UR-100N - that would be made a few years later. In 1969, the Defense Council set a general direction for the development of these missiles (as well as of R-36M/SS-18), which began shortly thereafter. The question, of course, is, why would these missiles carry multiple warheads if not to attack the US strategic forces in a counterforce damage-limitation strike? The answer, in fact, is quite simple. If you build your strategy around a deep second strike, you have to assume that a significant number of your ICBMs will be destroyed. Out of, say, 200 or so heavy missiles, only a handful would survive. If that's the case, you would much rather those surviving ICBMs carry ten warheads rather than one - that way you could be reasonably certain that you can retaliate with, well, multiple warheads. This means that MIRVing your ICBMs is, in fact, quite a reasonable strategy for a second-strike option.

As for damage limitation and warfighting, Soviet MIRVed missiles never got anywhere close to that - throughout the 1970s they were not capable of taking out more than about 20 percent of Minuteman silos and could only hope to take more than a half of them in the 1980s. I would not be surprised if the Soviet Union never targeted US ICBM silos at all. What would be the point?

One interesting detail about the small civil war debate is that missile defense was not a factor in the decision at all. Yes, it was mentioned, but only as something of no particular importance. Which is not surprising since by the end of 1969 it was well understood that missile defense can do little about relatively simple decoys and penetration aids, which all new missiles, of course, would carry. In short, missile defense was never a problem (so much for another arms control dogma, but that would take a separate post).

Even though MIRVed missiles offered more warheads in a retaliatory strike, when it came to practical implementation, the scale of MIRVing was limited by the cost of the silo hardening program. Out of about 1400 silos that the Soviet Union kept after the SALT I freeze on new construction, 580 were the soft silos built in the 1960s. It wasn't much of a problem at the time since the sheer number of these missiles provided a reasonable margin of safety for retaliation.

The move to a deep second strike also spurred the development of mobile intercontinental missiles - the work on the Temp-2S ICBM was authorized in July 1969. The project was not entirely successful, and the missile was never formally accepted for service. It did, however, start a line of solid-propellant mobile missiles that included Pioneer/SS-20, Topol/SS-25, and Yars/SS-27. Mobility, if you do it properly, could be a good way to protect your missiles from being destroyed in an attack. To a point, of course.

Another development set in motion by the 1969 decision was the work on the nuclear command and control system. If you rely on a deep second strike, you need to make sure that the (few) surviving missiles will have the order to leave their silos once the attack is over. The command and control system was developed very much from scratch, which allowed the designers--a team from the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute that won the competition (later Impuls Design Bureau)--to build it around fundamental principles. They would consider, for example, how the number of people that are authorized to make the decision--one or, say, four--would affect the reliability of the system (I don't know what the answer to that was, but if I understand it correctly, they did make sure that the General Secretary does not have the sole authority to launch an attack). The result was the architecture that includes things like a preliminary command and the ability to communicate launch orders directly to silos through a variety of communication channels (one of which, yes, is the command missiles of the Perimeter system). In my view, it is a very effective system that supports guaranteed retaliation, provides insurance against a decapitating strike, and does not rely on launch on warning that puts the leadership under the enormous stress of having to make the decision to launch in a few minutes (the Soviet Union never had these few minutes anyway).

Speaking of launch on warning, that option was not considered at all. Of course, the Soviet Union did not have an early warning system in 1969--the few radars that were deployed at the time were part of various missile defense efforts. The work on early warning radars and satellites would begin only in the early 1970s. Details of this story are a bit complicated, but there are no indications that this development was aimed at attaining the launch-on-warning capability.

The early-warning system, however, will come in handy later, in the early 1980s. The advances in missile accuracy began undermining the reliance on deep second strike as the primary option for strategic nuclear operations. As I understand it, the Soviet Union was not willing to consider launch on warning--it didn't really have good options there as it could not rely on dual phenomenology to provide a fully reliable detection of an attack. Launch on warning is a highly risky strategy for the United States, and it would be doubly so in the case of the Soviet Union (and Russia, for that matter). Instead, the Soviet Union chose to implement what is known as a launch from under attack or otvetno-vstrechnyy udar. In brief, this option would allow to "protect" (still a small number of) ICBMs by launching them before attacking warheads arrive at their targets. And since the launch order is issued only after the detection of actual nuclear detonations, this option is far less dangerous than launch on warning.

This assumes, of course, that the command-and-control system can support a launch from under attack. Which it can. The basic algorithm remains the same--the preliminary command can now be triggered by the early-warning system, while the actual launch order is transmitted through a variety of communication channels. This is not to say that implementation of launch from under attack was easy--all elements of the command and control as well as the missiles themselves required serious hardening--but if you compare it to the cost of a launch-on-warning error, it was definitely worth it.

Now we come back to the question of silo-based MIRVed ICBMs. As far as multiple warheads are concerned, it is not difficult to see that they still provide a significant advantage. Whether they are launched from under attack or after ride-out, the number of surviving missiles is not expected to be very large. (It is worth noting that this number is unknowable. It could be zero, but it could also be rather large--it is a distribution of probability that is never a delta function. Unless you try an actual attack, you will never know it.) If the surviving/escaping missiles carry multiple warheads, the number of targets hit in a retaliatory strike increases accordingly.

Deploying missiles in silos, as opposed to on mobile launchers, also offers some advantages in the launch from under attack scenario. A launch order can reach the silo almost immediately and the missile can be launched very quickly (silo ICBMs deployed in the 1980s were on combat duty with their gyroscopes spun up). Even if a counterforce strike is well coordinated, it is impossible to hit all target at once--for quite a few silos there will be a window of a few minutes between the first detected nuclear detonation somewhere else and the arrival of "its own" attacking warheads.

Mobile missiles, especially when they are on patrol, are much harder to deliver a launch order to as they cannot rely on a hard-wired connection with the command center. They are also slower to react, even though they could still be launched fairly quickly once they are deployed in a field position (I am not sure about gyroscopes, though--spinning them up may take a few precious minutes). They are harder to locate, of course, but that advantage has been steadily eroding in recent years (as the Soviet Union understood it quite well back in the 1980s). Road-mobile missiles are probably still up to the job as a deep-second-strike weapon, but they may not provide the same level of confidence in the success of retaliation as their silo-based siblings launched from under attack.

There is another factor to take into account--missile defense. A heavy missile deployed in a silo could carry a very potent countermeasures package in addition to its warheads. If the assumption is that only a handful of ICBMs would survive or escape a counterforce attack, it's better to have missiles of the R-36M2 class among them.

Putting this all together brings us to a conclusion that goes very much against the conventional arms control wisdom. It turns out that if you plan on using them properly, silo-based MIRVed ICBMs actually improve crisis stability and provide protection against catastrophic early-warning or command-and-control errors.

The key factors, of course, are the launch from under attack posture (silo-based missiles are probably not a good choice for the deep second strike option these days) and a command-and-control system that can support it. This is what the Soviet Union built in the 1980s and what Russia most likely preserved to this day. The biggest problem usually associated with silo-based MIRVed missiles--the destabilizing "use them or lose them" pressure that supposedly forces you to launch your missiles first--exists only in warfighting scenarios where opponents are poised to destroy each other's forces in the belief that the key to victory is a throw-weight advantage after the exchange. But if you build your strategy around retaliation, the "use or lose" pressure does not exist--you are, in fact, planning on losing most of your missiles anyway.

None of this, of course, is a call for deploying more MIRVed ICBMs in silos. But it does suggest that the Soviet and Russian silo based MIRVed missiles were not nearly as problematic as they are usually depicted. And they probably play a stabilizing role by providing Russia with confidence that its missile force could deliver a reasonably-sized retaliatory strike if it ever comes to that (there are submarines as well, but that's a separate story). The heavy Sarmat missiles that Russia intends to deploy could even play a positive role in addressing the missile defense issue by helping to build the argument that these missiles would render US missile defense "impotent and obsolete," just as the plans to build "modular missiles" helped calm the nerves around SDI back in the 1980s.

The same logic would probably apply to China. While any increase of the number of warheads is regrettable, China's deploying multiple warheads on its missiles is not necessarily destabilizing. Even those who don't believe China's no-first-use policy would have to admit that there is no way China could pursue a meaningful damage-limitation capability.

It is a tougher call for the United States. On some level, US ICBM force is largely irrelevant. As I mentioned earlier, I doubt that Russia aims its missiles at US silos, so they probably don't even work as a sponge. On the other hand, these missiles do have a non-trivial counterforce capability that would only increase if they were MIRVed (and there are enough warheads in the reserve to do so). And if the GBSD program proceeds as planned, this capability will be maintained for a long time. Add to this that the United States believes in damage limitation and relies on launch on warning that opens it to catastrophic accidents, and you have a picture of a pretty destabilizing and dangerous force. But is not ICBMs, MIRVed or not, that are the problem, it is the first-strike damage-limitation strategy.

In conclusion, I should note that this is, of course, a very broad-brush treatment of the issue. There were (and still are) many factors in play, political as well as technical (mostly political, I would say). But this take on silo-based MIRVed missiles does suggest that the ways different states look at the same issue could be very different. Unfortunately, the history shows that nobody is particularly interested in what their opponents really think. It is much easier to deploy mirror-imaging or simply make up their views to fit a particular political purpose. There is not much they can do to contest that. And, of course, there is a lot of inertia and quite a bit of lazy thinking. In a way, this is inevitable as it is all part of a normal political process. But we should at least try to be critical about established beliefs, conventional wisdoms, and long-standing dogmas. There are quite a few of those around.

NOTAM 2021-05-29 Nudol.jpeg According to Voenno-boltovoy kanal, one of the Russian Telegram channels devoted to military developments, Russia was planning to conduct a launch from the Plesetsk test site toward the Laptev Sea on 29 May 2021. These kind of notifications are normally issued before a test of the Nudol ASAT system. The most recent one, confirmed by US Space Command, took place in December 2020.

Note that the 29 May 2021 NOTAM is a bit different - unlike in December 2020, this time there is no keep-out area over Novaya Zemlya. But the test in April 2020 also did not close Novaya Zemlya, so maybe it was the December 2020 test that was different.

It is not known whether the test actually took place - Russia normally does not announce these tests and US Space Command did not comment (but it was noticed by Robert Wood, U.S. Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament).

Knyaz Oleg, the fifth submarine of the Project 955 class and the first "serial" Project 955A ship, began sea trials.

The construction of the submarine began in July 2014. It was moved out from the dry dock in July 2020.

Kataev_K5.11_Mobile_missiles.png The Kataev archive contains quite a few interesting documents. One of them is a note on mobile missiles that describes basic operations of rail-mobile and road-mobile missiles and makes a case for keeping them in the RVSN force. It also provides an insight into Soviet thinking about nuclear strategy.

For some reason I cannot find the document in the Hoover Archive collection guide, but it is definitely there. It is listed as Document 11 in Box 5 in my notes, but my system is different from that in the guide. I translated the note into English, trying to stick to the military-bureaucratic Russian as best as I can. Here is the text of the document:

Russian:

"Справка по ракетным комплексам мобильного базирования," Vitalii Leonidovich Kataev Papers, Hoover Institution Archive, Stanford University, n.d.

English:

"Spravka po raketnym kompleksam mobilnogo bazirovaniya [A note on mobile missile systems]," (translated from Russian by Pavel Podvig), Vitalii Leonidovich Kataev Papers, Hoover Institution Archive, Stanford University, n.d.

The document does not have a date, but it was probably drafted around 1990 - that would be the year when the Soviet Union had the number of mobile missiles mentioned in the note (which we know from other documents in the archive). On the other hand, some details suggest that it may have been prepared as early as 1988. It appears that the issue came up during the START negotiations that were underway at the time. The United States, of course, never liked (Soviet) mobile ICBMs and probably tried to ban them in the new treaty. It's worth noting that SALT II included a protocol that banned the deployment of mobile ICBM launchers or testing of ICBMs from these launchers, so it would be expected that the United States made an effort to do the same in START.

Even if the SALT II entered into force, which it didn't, the ban on mobile missiles would have expired at the end of 1981, so the Soviet Union proceeded with the deployment of its land-based mobile missile force. This is where the documents starts - by the end of the 1980s, the Rocket Forces operated 267 mobile missile systems (in the Soviet tradition, it's always a "missile system/ракетный комплекс" that includes a missile, its launcher and all the support equipment). Of these, 24 were rail-mobile RT-23UTTH/SS-24/15Zh61 ICBMs with ten warheads each (it's not clear if some RT-23/15Zh52 were still deployed by that time). The rest were 243 single-warhead road-mobile Topol/SS-25 ICBMs.

Patrol areas

Each division of rail-mobile missiles (four trains with three ICBMs each) was assigned "up to 10,000 km of railways" with 350-370 stops along the routes. The note says that this is 30 stops per a launcher, but it would be more accurate to say that it was 90 stops per each three-missile train. A division of road-mobile Topol ICBMs was assigned a patrol area of 40,000-50,000 square kilometers. A full division would include 36 missiles, but there were smaller divisions as well. These are organized in regiments of nine missiles each, further divided into three three-missile battalions (дивизион). As far as I can tell, a regiment would normally go on patrol at the same time, but each battalion would travel independently.

Normally, about 20 percent of regiments would be on patrol or at their field positions. The rest would be on alert at their permanent bases. Topols, for example, would stay in their Krona shelters, connected to the command center and ready to be launched from there at a moment's notice. At a time of a crisis, all mobile missiles would leave their bases.

It is interesting that START did not actually affect the deployment practices. Article VI of the treaty required road mobile missiles to be based only in restricted areas (which would be a missile regiment base) and rail-mobile missiles - in rail garrisons, but that was what they were doing anyway. Missiles could leave their bases for "routine movements, relocations, or dispersals," which would cover very much everything. The limits imposed by the treaty was not particularly constraining. Each road-mobile regiment had to stay within its "deployment area," but that area was quite large - 125,000 square kilometers. So, a deployment area of a missile division would be 500,000 square kilometers, which is more than ten times larger than the actual patrol area of a division. There was no geographical limit on the movements of rail-mobile missiles; the only condition was that no more than 50 percent of them "may be engaged in routine movements at any time." But normally no more than 20 percent of the missiles were on patrol. Moreover, all limits (and notification) were waived for "operational dispersals."

The note reveals that the Soviet Union, in fact, was considering halving the deployment rate because of concerns about "the current situation in the country (the possibility of sabotage)" as well as about accidents.

Targeting

The note is one of the very few documents that provide a glimpse into the Soviet thinking about nuclear strategy and nuclear missions. It clearly states that mobile missiles are a retaliatory-strike weapon. And retaliatory strike here means "deep second strike" or a strike after ride-out. In this kind of strike mobile missiles would be capable of accomplishing 90 percent of the tasks assigned to the Rocket Forces (presumably, the SLBM force had its own separate assignment). The only other option mentioned in the note is "launch from under attack/otvetno-vstrechnyy udar" when silo-based ICBMs would play the primary role, covering about 70 percent of the Rocket Forces targets (one would assume that mobile missiles would also play a role in the launch from under attack scenario). It is notable that launch on warning is not mentioned and there are no signs of a first strike. Which, of course, confirms other evidence that showed that neither of these two options was part of the Soviet nuclear planning.

The note has absolute numbers too - it says that in a retaliatory strike mobile missiles can hit "up to 80 typical objects" in the United States. This probably assumes that the missiles on patrol would survive the attack - say, one train with three RT-23MUTTH missiles and about 50 Topol ICBMs. The document notes that this number will be increased to 150 by the year 2000, which is still a bit lower than 200 targets that is set as a goal for a retaliatory strike. I would note that this number is, of course, completely arbitrary - there is no way the capability to strike 200, as opposed to 80, targets provides stronger deterrence.

Vulnerability

The key advantage of mobile missiles is their ability to hide. Unlike submarines, however, mobile missiles can be seen from space, so that advantage is not absolute. The note shows that the Soviet Union was concerned about space reconnaissance and understood that at some point mobile missiles will be relatively easy to detect. According to the document it was not a problem in the late 1980s, when the US was assessed to operate one "Lasp" and two KH-11 satellites. It's not entirely clear what "Lasp" referred to - that name, which appears to stand for Low-Altitude Surveillance Platform, was mentioned in connection with KH-8, which ended operations in 1984. In general, it appears that the Soviet Union didn't have a very good understanding of the US surveillance programs. It knew, however, about the trends and expected that the United States will deploy 2-4 Lacrosse radar imaging satellites as well as the 2-4 next-generation Keyhole, referred to as KH-12. In the short run these developments were to be countered by a number of measures, such as longer patrols and electronic countermeasures.

It was, however, assessed that the situation will change around 2000 and reliance on mobile missile will eventually become a risky proposition. To ensure survivability of its retaliatory force, the Soviet Union was planning to move to super-hardened silos - 5,000 atm (compared to 100 atm for existing silos) and eventually to silos with "absolute protection". These were "Fortifikatsiya" and "Magma" R&D projects. Fortifikatsiya was already included in the "Protivodeystviye" anti-SDI package.

Construction of super-hardened silos would require lifting the ban on relocation of existing silos and construction of new ones, which was in place since the SALT I days. The note also suggested that the Soviet Union should work to remove a number of other restrictions that were put in place in SALT II - on air-launched ICBMs, new heavy ICBMs - as well as renegotiate the definition of throw-weight to allow development of "modular" ICBMs.

This is just a first take on the document. I would appreciate corrections, comments, and interpretations. Leave them in the comment section below or on Twitter at @russianforces.

The Air and Space Defense Forces conducted a successful test of the new interceptor of the Moscow missile defense system at the Sary-Shagan test site. According to a VKS representative, "after a series of tests the interceptor fully confirmed technical characteristics of the interceptor" (he also said that it was a joint launch crew, VKS and the Strategic Rocket Forces). The test appears to have taken place on 26 April 2021.

Previous test of the interceptor took place in November 2020.

Now that the New START treaty has been extended, the data exchange continues. The U.S. State Department released aggregate New START numbers from the 1 March 2021 data exchange. Russia declared 1456 deployed warheads, 517 deployed launchers, and 767 total launchers. In September 2020 the numbers were 1447, 510, and 764 respectively.

The U.S. numbers in March 2021 were 1357 warheads, 651 deployed and 800 total launchers (1457, 675, and 800 in September 2020).

On 2 February 2021 at 23:45 MSK (20:45 UTC) the Space Forces conducted a successful launch of a Soyuz-2.1b space launcher from the launch pad No. 4 of the launch complex No. 43 of the Plesetsk test site. The launcher delivered into orbit a satellite designated Cosmos-2549.

Cosmos-2549, which received international designation 2021-008A and registered by NORAD as object 47546, is believed to be a Lotos-S1 electronic reconnaissance satellite of the Liana system.

Previous Lotos-S1 satellite, Cosmos-2528, was launched in October 2018.

On 16 December 2020 Russia conducted another test of its Nudol anti-satellite system. There was no official announcement and the test was disclosed by the U.S. Space Command. Russia, however, did issue a formal NOTAM notification (as it normally does).

NOTAM 2020-12-12 Nudol.jpeg

This appears to be the 10th test of the system - a test in June 2019 was planned, but probably didn't take place (it is not in Jonathan McDowell's log of suborbital launches. The first two tests are known to be unsuccessful.

  1. 12 August 2014 - failure
  2. 22 April 2015 - failure
  3. 18 November 2015 - first successful test of the missile
  4. 25 May 2016
  5. 16 December 2016
  6. 26 March 2018 - first test from a mobile launcher
  7. 23 December 2018
  8. June 2019?
  9. 15 November 2019
  10. 15 April 2020
  11. 16 December 2020 - this test

The ministry of defense reports that the Rocket Forces installed another Avangard missile in a silo at the Dombarovskiy division.

Technically, the missile places in the silo is not yet Avangard - it is an old UR-100NUTTH/SS-19 missile that serves as a booster of the hypersonic glider. The glider will be installed on the missile later. The video also appears to show last year's deployment in the silo at 51.1925 59.635278.

This suggests that the Rocket Forces are close to the goal of adding two new Avangard systems to the division in Dombarovskiy, even if they are not quite there yet. The plan is to complete the rearmament of the first regiment of six missiles in 2021 and to deploy a total of 12 missiles by the end of 2027.