The Strategic Rocket Forces are planning to conduct 11 missile launches in 2008. These will include regular training and life-extension launches as well as some launches that seem to be part of new missile development programs.

According to the commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, Nikolai Solovtsov, the training and life-extension part of the 2008 launch program will include launches of SS-25/Topol, SS-19/UR-100NUTTH, and SS-18 missiles. It is not clear whether SS-18 will be a R-36MUTTH or R-36M2 - my guess is that it is the latter, since the R-36MUTTH appears to be beyond its service life of 25 years and gets tested in space launches anyway.

The test launches of R-36MUTTH in question are the three space launches from Dombarovskyy that will use the Dnepr launcher. In the second quarter of 2008 Dnepr will launch RapidEye satellites, in the fourth quarter - a cluster of four satellites (DubaiSat-1, Deimos-1, Nanosat-1B, and UK-DMC2). The date of the third Dnepr launch - of a THEOS satellite, also scheduled for 2008, has not been announced yet.

Two more test launches in 2008 will continue the RS-24 development program. According to Solovtsov, these two flights, if successful, will complete the flight test program of the RS-24 missile (which is a MIRVed version of Topol-M). The Rocket Forces then expect that they could start deployment of first RS-24 missiles in 2009.

One of the test flights in 2008 will be used to test some "prospective missile equipment". From the context it appears to be some kind of missile defense countermeasures project. I would guess that this is something that Russia has been doing in tests from Kapustin Yar to Sary-Shagan, the most recent of which took place on December 8, 2007. But we don't know at this point.

Probably the most intriguing part of the plan is in the two launches that will be conducted as part of "work on a missile system in research and development" (it is actually quite difficult to translate "отработка исследовательского ракетного комплекса" from Russian). It's hard to say what it is, but this is probably one of those "new missile systems" that figured in President Putin's grandiose plans. I hope that we'll know more about the missile once the flight tests begin, but the likelihood is that it is a "new SS-19", suggested by NPOMash. But it may be something else.