It became a tradition - each December the commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces tells about the service's plan to conduct so many missile launches only to report a year later that the actual number of launches was about half of what was projected (the chart prepared by last year is still online). This year was not an exception - according to a December 2015 statement, the Rocket Forces were planning to conduct 16 ICBM launches - two for life extension and 14 as part of various development programs.

The actual number of launches was six. Four of them were said to be development launches, one - a life extension launch, and one - a combat training launch.

The life extension launch was probably the Topol launch in October 2016 - it was declared as such. The combat-training one was probably the Topol launch in September 2016, which took place during an exercise. It was also said to be a "test of prospective combat payload and missile defense penetration aids," but it's unlikely that it is in the development category.

As for the development launches, only two events can be reliably identified - the two Project 4202 launches - in April 2016 and in October 2016.

What were the other two launches? The only two known events that could be interpreted as missile launches are the mysterious failure in September 2016 and the reported ejection test of the Barguzin rail-mobile missile in November. I have my doubts, though - the failed launch was never really confirmed and I am not sure an ejection test would qualify as a launch. We know that the Rocket Forces were planning an RS-26 launch in 2016-2017 and it was at some point expected to take place in the second half of the year, but there were no signs of this actually happening. So, it is a question mark next to two 2016 launches at this point.

The plan for 2017 is to have "about ten" or "more than ten" - different reports quote Karakayev differently - launches. There is no breakdown by categories this time, though.

UPDATE: There were two Rockot launches in 2016 - on 16 February 2016 (Sentinel-3A satellite) and on 4 June 2016 (Cosmos-2517 Geo-IK-2 satellite). Since Rockot is a converted UR-100NUTTH missile, these would probably qualify as Strategic Rocket Forces launches.

UPDATE 01/23/2017: In an interview to VPK-News, Sergey Karakayev said again that four of the six launches in 2016 were "to check flight and technical characteristics of new strategic missile systems." That doesn't sound like Rockot launches, so the question about what were the four "development" launches remains open. On 2017, this time Karakayev said "more than 10 launches." No real breakdown was given this time, but Karakayev said that these will include "development"l launches, life extension, and combat training.