"Latvia" Former Soviet Union Military Bases
The Strategic Missile Troops,
Strategic Rocket Forces of the Russian Federation
Ракетные войска стратегического назначения
Raketnye voyska strategicheskogo naznacheniya
                                                            SRF Emblem and Flag
Active: 17 December 1959 – Present
Country: Russian Federation "Earlier – Soviet Union"
Role: Strategic Missile Deterrence
Garrison/HQ: Вла́сиха "Одинцово-10", 2.5km northwest of Odintsovo, Moscow Oblast
Anniversaries: 17 December
Current Commander: Colonel General Sergei Viktrovich Karakayev
The Strategic Missile Troops or Strategic Rocket Forces of the Russian Federation or RVSN RF are a military branch of the Russian Military that controls Russia's land-based ICBMs. The RVSN was first formed in the Soviet Armed Forces, and when the USSR collapsed in 1990–1991, it effectively changed its name from the Soviet to the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces.
The Strategic Rocket Forces were created on 17 December 1959 as the main Soviet force used for attacking an enemy's offensive nuclear weapons, military facilities, and industrial infrastructure. They operated all Soviet ground-based intercontinental, intermediate-range, and medium-range nuclear missiles with ranges over 1,000 kilometers. Complementary strategic forces within Russia are the Long Range Aviation and the Russian Navy's ballistic missile submarines.
The first Soviet rocket study unit was established in July 1946, by re-designating a Soviet Ground Forces Guards Mortar regiment at Berka in East Germany as the 92nd Special-purpose Brigade of the RVGK [Supreme High Command Reserve] "92 BON RVGK". On 18 October 1947 the brigade conducted the first launch of the remanufactured former German A-4 ballistic missile, or R-1, from the Kapustin Yar Range. In the early 1950s the 77th and 90th Brigades were also formed to operate the R-1 "SS-1a Scunner". The 54th and 56th Brigades were formed to conduct test launches of the R-2 "SS-2 Sibling" at Kapustin Yar on 1 June 1952.
From 1959 the Soviets introduced a number of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles "ICBMs" into service, including the SS-4 'Sandal', the SS-6 'Sapwood' "R-7", the SS-7 'Saddler' "R-16", the SS-8 'Sasin' "R-9A", the SS-8 'Sasin' "R-26", the SS-9 'Scarp' "R-36", and the SS-16 'Sinner' "RT-21", which was possibly never made fully operational. By 1990 all these early types of missiles had been retired from service.
Two rocket armies were formed in 1960. The 43rd Rocket Army and the 50th Rocket Army were formed from the previous 43rd and 50th Air Armies of the Long Range Aviation.
During a test of the R-16 ICBM on 24 October 1960, the test missile exploded on the pad, killing the first commander of the SRF, Chief Marshal of Artillery Mitrofan Ivanovich Nedelin. This disaster, the details of which were concealed for decades, became known as the Nedelin catastrophe. He was succeeded by Marshal of the Soviet Union Kirill Moskalenko, who in turn was succeeded quickly by Marshal Sergey Biryuzov. Under Marshal Вiryuzov the SRF deployed missiles to Cuba in 1962 as part of Operation Anadyr. 36 R-12 intermediate range ballistic missiles were sent to Cuba, initiating the Cuban Missile Crisis. 43rd Guards Missile Division of 43rd Rocket Army manned the missiles while in  Cuba.
Marshal Nikolai Krylov then took over in March 1963 and served until February 1972. During this time French President Charles de Gaulle visited the Strategic Rocket Forces in 1966. Together with NI Krylov, he visited a missile division in Novosibirsk, and then at the invitation of Leonid Brezhnev participated in a demonstration missile launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakh SSR. Chief Marshal of Artillery Vladimir Fedorovich Tolubko commanded the SRF from 12 April 1972 to 10 July 1985. Tolubko emphasized raising the physical fitness standards within the SRF. He was succeeded by General of the Army Yury Pavlovich Maksimov, who commanded from 10 July 1985 to 19 August 1992.
According to a 1980 TIME Magazine article citing analysts from RAND Corporation, Soviet non-Slavs were generally barred from joining the Strategic Rocket Forces because of suspicions of loyalty of ethnic minorities to the Kremlin.
                                   U.S. DOD map of Soviet ICBM bases, 1980s
In 1989 the Strategic Rocket Forces had over 1,400 ICBMs, 300 launch control centers, and twenty-eight missile bases. The SMT also operated SS-20 "RSD-10 Pioneer" Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles :IRBMs" and SS-4 Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles "MRBMs". Two-thirds of the road-mobile Soviet SS-20 force was based in the western Soviet Union and was aimed at Western Europe. One-third of the force was located east of the Ural Mountains and was targeted primarily against China. Older SS-4 missiles were deployed at fixed sites in the western Soviet Union. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed in December 1987, called for the elimination of all 553 Soviet
SS-20 and SS-4 missiles within three years. As of mid-1989, over 50% of SS-20 and SS-4 missiles had been eliminated.
By 1990 the Soviet Union had seven types of operational ICBMs; about 50% were heavy SS-18 and SS-19 ICBMs, which carried 80% of the country's land-based ICBM warheads. By this time it was also producing new mobile, and hence survivable ICBMs, the SS-24 and SS-25. In 1990, with the SS-4 apparently fully retired, the IISS reported that there were 350 SS-11 "Sego" "UR-100" "Mod 2/3", 60 SS-13 "Savage" "RT-2" still in service in one missile field, 75 SS-17 "Spanker" "UR-100MR" "Mod 3, with 4 MIRV", 308 SS-18s mostly "Mod 4 with 10 MIRV", 320 SS-19 mostly "Mod 3 with 6 MIRV", some 60 SS-24 "Scalpel" "RT-23" "Silo and Rail-Mobile), and some 225 SS-25 "Mobile". 
Composition of the Strategic Rocket Forces 1960–1991
Like most of the Russian military, the Strategic Rocket Forces have had limited access to resources for new equipment in the Yeltsin era. However, the Russian government has made a priority of ensuring that the Rocket Forces receive new missiles to phase out older, less-reliable systems, and to incorporate newer capabilities in the face of international threats to the viability of the nuclear deterrent effect provided by their missiles, in particular the development of missile defense systems in the United States.
In 1995, the decree of the President of Russia № 1239 from 10 December 1995 "On establishing the Day of the Strategic Rocket Forces Day and Military Space Forces Day" was promulgated. On 16 July 1997, President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree incorporating the Russian Space Forces and the Space Missile Defense Forces - Russian: "Ракетно-космической обороны" into the SMT. In doing so, 'nearly 60' military units and establishments were dissolved. However, four years later, on 1 June 2001, the Russian Space Forces were reformed as a separate branch of service from the SMT.
Minister of Defense Marshal of the Russian Federation Igor Sergeev, a former commander of the SMT from 19 August 1992 – 22 May 1997, played a major role in assuring funding for his former service. He was succeed by General of the Army Vladimir Nikolavevich Yakovlev, who commanded the SMT from June 1997 until 27 April 2001. Yakovlev was succeeded by Colonel General Nikolay - Solovtsov "Соловцов, Николай Евгеньевич", appointed the same day. In early 2009 Solovtsov said that 96% of all Russian ICBMs are ready to be launched within a minute's notice. Solovtsov was dismissed in turn in July–August 2009. Speculation over why Solovtsov was dismissed includes opposition to further cuts in deployed nuclear ballistic missile warheads below the April 2009 figure of 1,500, the fact that he had reached the retirement age of 60, despite that he had recently been extended another year's service, or the failure of the Navy's Bulava missile. After only a year, Lieutenant General Andrey Shvaichenko, appointed on 3 August 2009 by President Dmitry Medvedev, was replaced. The current commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, Colonel General Sergei Karakayev, was appointed to the post by a presidential decree of 22 June 2010. 
RSVN headquarters has a special sledgehammer that can be used to gain access to the launch codes if the commander feels the need to use these, but doesn't have normal access to the safe. 
Composition in 2010s
According to Jane's Defense Weekly, the RSVN main command post is at Kuntsevo in the suburbs of Moscow, with the alternate command post at Kosvinksky Mountain in the Urals. 
Female cadets have now started to join the Peter the Great Strategic Rocket Forces Academy. RSVN institutes also exist at Serpukhov and Rostov-on-Don. An ICBM test impact range is located in the Far East, the Kura Test Range, although this has been part of the Aerospace Defense Forces since 2010.
The Strategic Rocket Forces operate four distinct missile systems. The oldest system is the silo-based R-36M2 / SS-18 Satan which carries ten warheads, the last missile will be in service until 2020. The second system is the silo-based UR-100NUTTH / SS-19 Stiletto, the last 70 missiles in service with six warheads each will be removed by 2017. The most numerous missile in service is the single warhead mobile RT-2PM Topol / SS-25 Sickle which have 171 missiles in service, all of them are planned to be decommissioned by 2019. A new missile entering service is the RT-2UTTH Topol-M / SS-27 Sickle B with single warhead, from which 49 are silo-based and 19 are mobile. Some new missiles will be added in future. First upgraded Topol-M called RS-24 Yars, carrying three warheads, was commissioned in 2010 and in July 2011 the first mobile regiment with 9 missiles was completed. 
The composition of missiles and warheads of the Strategic Rocket Forces previously had to be revealed as part of the START I treaty data exchange. The current (December 2010) order of battle of the forces is as follows: 
  • 27th Guards Missile Army "HQ: Vladimir" 
    • 98th Separate Mixed Aviation Squadron 
    • 7th Guards Slingshot Division at Vypolzovo with 18 mobile RT-2PM Topol 
    • 14th Rocket Division at Yoshkar-Ola with 27 mobile RT-2PM Topol 
    • 28th Guards Rocket Division at Kozelsk with 29 silo-based UR-100NUTTH 
    • 54th Guards Rocket Division at Teykovo with 18 mobile RT-2UTTH Topol-M and 12 December 2011 mobile RS-24 
    • 60th Rocket Division at Tatischevo with 41 silo-based UR-100NUTTH and 52 silo-based RT-2UTTH Topol-M 
  • 31st Missile Army "HQ: Rostoshi" 
    • 102nd Separate Mixed Aviation Squadron 
    • 13th Red Banner Rocket Division at Dombarovskiy with 30 silo-based R-36M2 
    • 42nd Rocket Division at Nizhniy Tagil with 27 mobile RT-2PM Topol 
  • 33rd Guards Rocket Army "HQ: Omsk" 
    • 105th Separate Mixed Aviation Squadron 
    • 35th Rocket Division at Barnaul with 36 mobile RT-2PM Topol 
    • 39th Guards Rocket Division at Novosibirsk with 36 mobile RT-2PM Topol 
    • 51st Guards Rocket Division at Irkutsk with 27 mobile RT-2PM Topol 
    • 62nd Rocket Division at Uzhur with 28 silo-based R-36M2 
In 2016 is estimated the 31st Rocket Army will be disbanded. The 42nd RD with RT-2PM will be disbanded, and 13th RD with R-36 will be transferred to the 27th GRA. "Podvig"
Numbers of Missiles and Warheads
The Strategic Rocket Forces have:
  • 58 silo-based R-36M2 "SS-18"
  • 136 silo-based UR-100N "SS-19"
  • 144 mobile RT-2PM "Topol" "SS-25"
  • 54 silo-based RT-2UTTH "Topol M" "SS-27"
  • 18 mobile RT-2UTTH "Topol M" "SS-27"
  • 18 mobile RS-24 "Yars" "SS-29" "Future replacement for UR-100N missile"
This gives Russia a total fleet of 434 ICBMs, slightly fewer than the US fleet of 450 Minuteman-III ICBMs.
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Revised: 02/07/2013 – 12:38:15