A leading Russian missile designer says the country's arms procurement program should include development of a new heavy ballistic missile.
Yury Solomonov of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology said the final decision on arms procurement through 2020, expected in 2012-13, should be made by the expert community, not just the Defense Ministry, RIA Novosti reported Monday.
"This matter is beyond the Defense Ministry's competence. It is a matter of state importance," he said.
A "heavy" intercontinental ballistic missile is a class of missile with of a payload weight of between 5 and 10 tons, more than 115 feet in length and capable of delivering multiple warheads in a single missile.
Russia's Strategic Missile Forces are still armed with Soviet-era SS-18 Satan and SS-20 Saber ICBMs with an extended service life and are expected to remain in service until 2026, RIA Novosti said.
The SS-18 Satan carries up to 10 warheads with an operational range of up to 6,800 miles.
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