Two trends will determine the evolution of the ICBM force in 2005 – withdrawal of old missiles and deployment of new ones, the former outpacing the latter by a wide margin.

The new missile that Russia is currently deployed is SS-27 Topol-M, which now exists in silo-based and road-mobile versions. Silo-based missiles have been deployed since 1997 and by the end of 2004 four Topol-M regiments with the total of 40 missiles were in service. According to the plans that were made public in December 2004, four more silo-based Topol-M missiles will be deployed in 2005. Judging from silo preparations (ten silos are currently being converted), we can expect that six more will be deployed by the end of 2006, bringing the total number of silo-based Topol-M missiles to 50.

It is not clear if the number of silo-based Topol-M missiles will continue to increase after 2006. In the next two years the Strategic Rocket Forces will be able to begin deployment of the mobile version of Topol-M instead. Initially, the deployment was scheduled to begin in 2006, but on December 30th, 2004, at the very last cabinet meeting, the government added three missiles to the 2005 acquisition plan. It seems that the missiles in question are the first mobile Topol-M regiment – only mobile missiles are deployed three at a time. The first regiment will join the missile division in Teykovo, replacing some of its 36 SS-25 Topol missiles.

As for decommissioning, the plan is to disband the Kostroma missile division and complete elimination of its 15 rail-mobile SS-24 missiles. The division in Kartaly, which now has 16 SS-18 missiles, will also be disbanded in 2005. We can also expect to see the number of deployed SS-18 missiles reduced even further – eventually Russia will have no more than about 40-50 of those, since the older version of the missile, known as R-36MUTTH or RS-20B, is being withdrawn from service.

Overall, for the seven missiles that Russia is planning to deploy in 2005, about 40 will be decommissioned and the reductions could be even more dramatic if the Strategic Rocket Forces will begin decommissioning of SS-19 missiles or accelerate withdrawal of SS-18s. The ICBM force, however, will remain the strongest leg of the Russian strategic triad - plans for other services are much less ambitious.