On January 4, the Russian Defense Ministry released a video of loading an intercontinental ballistic missile “Yars” into a silo launcher of the Kozelsk missile formation. The RS-24 Yars (NATO reporting name: SS-29) is a Russian multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV)-equipped, thermonuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missile first tested on May 29, 2007, after a secret military R&D project, to replace the older R-36 and UR-100N that have been in use for nearly 50 years. There were “more than 150” launchers of the “Yars” complex (silo and mobile-based) in operation. Regiments in Yoshkar-Ola, Teykovo, Nizhny Tagil and Novosibirsk have been fully rearmed with the TEL version of “Yars” and rearmament of the Irkutsk missile regiments is to be complete until the end of 2019.
RS-24 is a missile that is heavier than the current SS-27 Mod 1 (Topol-M), and which some reports say can carry up to 10 independently targetable warheads. The 2007 tests were publicized as a response to the missile shield that the United States were planning to deploy in Europe. In a MIRV, the main rocket motor (or booster) pushes a “bus” into a free-flight suborbital ballistic flight path. After the boost phase the bus maneuvers using small on-board rocket motors and a computerised inertial guidance system. It takes up a ballistic trajectory that will deliver a reentry vehicle containing a warhead to a target and then releases a warhead on that trajectory. It then maneuvers to a different trajectory, releasing another warhead, and repeats the process for all warheads.
A road mobile Yars TEL is based on Belarusian MZKT-79221 16×16 heavy high mobility chassis. This chassis was specially designed for the Topol-M intercontinental missile. First three and last three axles are steered. So this vehicle is very maneuverable for its size. Also it has good cross-country mobility. The TEL vehicle is operated by a crew of three. The Yars mobile launcher has autonomy on roads of 500 km. It allows the vehicle to operate undetected in an area equivalent to a small European country. A silo-based version of the Yars is compatible with silo of older Russian ICBMs, that were phased out of service. It uses complete infrastructure of the previous missiles. It only takes to load the new missile into the silo. A typical silo-based unit has 10 Yars missiles and command post.