Russian minister of defense, Sergei Ivanov, speaking at the annual conference at his ministry on November 9, 2005, announced that in 2006 the Strategic Rocket Forces will get six new ICBMs. He didn't say anything about 2005, but it is expected that the Rocket Forces will add four silo-based missiles to its Topol-M force some time in the end of December.

At least three of the six missiles to be deployed in 2006 will be the road-mobile versions of Topol-M. The original plan for 2005 called for deployment of the first three mobile Topol-Ms this year, but it proved too optimistic and was reconsidered.

What is not quite clear at this point is whether deployment of silo-based Topol-Ms will continue or all the resources will go to the mobile version. My guess is that silo-based missiles will still be deployed - a few days ago, Nikolai Solovtsov, the commander of the Rocket Forces indicated that the future plans call for increase of ICBM production to 10-15 missiles a year. Solovtsov mentioned missile silos, although in an interesting context. He complained that the deployment plans are held back by the cost of constructing new missile silos.

Which construction? Silo-based Topol-Ms don't really need new silos – they are deployed in old SS-24 silos and have all the equipment in their launch canister. Of course, a missile silo is not just a hole in the ground and some modifications may be necessary, but I very much doubt anyone is thinking about constructing new ones.