The commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, Gen.-Col. Sergey Karakayev said today that his service is planning to deploy 16 RS-24 Yars missile launchers in 2014.

It is not immediately clear if the 16 is the total number of missiles that will be deployed in 2014 or Karakayev referred to the ICBMs that will enter service between now and the end of the year. A year ago, President Putin said that the Rocket Forces will receive 22 new ICBMs. He did not specify the type of missiles in question, but there is no other ICBM that is currently being deployed, so it has to be RS-24 Yars.

It was reported earlier that the the Kozelsk division will receive four missiles in 2014. Even if these are counted as already deployed, the goal of 22 new ICBMs appears to be out of reach.

Indeed as I was reminded at the time of the most recent New START exchange, in October 2014, Karakayev said that nine Yars mobile launchers, six mobile and two silo-based Yars ICBMs had became operational. He expected to add eight more ICBMs and three mobile launchers by the end of the year. Two of these eight ICBMs are probably the silo-based missiles that were placed in silos in Kozelsk some time in late October (in addition to the two deployed there earlier). So, the breakdown of missiles deployed before the Karakayev October statement (October 13th) and after may look like this:

  • 12 mobile RS-24 launchers: 9 + 3
  • 12 mobile RS-24 ICBMs: 6 + 6
  • 4 silo-based RS-24 ICBMs: 2 + 2
Yes, it looks like the total for 2014 is 16 ICBMs, so unless the Rocket Forces are going to find four other missiles to deploy, the deployment will fall short of the plan. RS-26 is one possible candidate, but it is not expected to enter service until 2015.

Another possibility, of course, is that the 16 missiles will be deployed in addition to the six mobile RS-24 that were said to be operational in October. This seems unlikely, though, since it doesn't take into account the silo-based missiles. They would put the total number over 22 and Karakayev probably wouldn't want to miss an opportunity to mention that the actual deployment exceeded the goal set by the president.