Commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, Sergei Karakayev, added quite a bit of new and interesting details to the announcements that he made yesterday.

Karakayev was quoted as saying that in 2014 his service will complete tests of the "new solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile (working designation RS-26) that has been created on the basis of RS-24 Yars". The new missile is expected to enter service in 2015. The missile will be road-mobile and will carry multiple warheads.

This is the most detailed official statement about the RS-26 missile, which has created somewhat of a controversy - there were suggestions that the missile is not quite an ICBM and therefore might violate the INF Treaty. Karakayev, however, did not quite put these suspicions to the rest. He did confirm that RS-26 was flown from Plesetsk to Kamchatka in May 2012. This qualifies the missile as an ICBM that Russia will have to account for in New START. There is no violation of anything here. However, Karakayev did suggest that the missile is significantly lighter than RS-24 Yars - he said that the RS-26 launcher will weigh about 80 tonnes versus 120 tonnes for RS-24.

As it turned out, some sources did report that the new missile is lighter than RS-24 - Vedomosti said as much following the very first (failed) test of the missile in September 2011. The idea was that the new missile is similar and maybe related to the old Soviet Kurier project that was cancelled by Gorbachev in 1991. However, since Karakayev said that RS-26 is "built on the basis of" RS-24 Yars, it is also possible that the new missile takes the first two stages of RS-24 - this was done in the past with Temp-2S and Pioner/SS-20 and it will be compatible with various bits of information about the new TEL as well as much of the INF controversy. At this point, it's only a guess, though.