( AP ) - Russia test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile Tuesday that is capable of carrying multiple independent warheads, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces said.
The missile, called the RS-24, was fired from a mobile launcher at the Plesetsk launch in northwestern Russia and its test warhead landed on target some 3,400 miles away on the Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, a statement from the forces said.
The new missile is seen as eventually replacing the aging RS-18s and RS-20s that are the backbone of the country's missile forces, the statement said. Those missiles are known in the West as the SS-19 Stiletto and the SS-18 Satan.
The statement said the RS-24 conforms with terms laid down in the START-I treaty and the 2002 Moscow Treaty, which call for reducing each country's nuclear arsenal to 1,700 to 2,000 warheads.
The RS-24 "strengthens the capability of the attack groups of the Strategic Missile Forces by surmounting anti-missile defense systems, at the same time strengthening the potential for nuclear deterrence," the statement said.
The statement did not specify how many warheads the missile can carry.
Alexander Golts, a respected military analyst with the Yezhenedelny Zhurnal online publication, expressed surprise at the announcement.
"It seems to be a brand new missile. It's either a decoy or something that has been developed in complete secrecy," he told The Associated Press.