Russia successfully test-fires ICBM to target in Kazakhstan

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that Russian Space Forces tested a Topol RS-12M intercontinental three-stage ballistic missile.

The missile was launched at 9:30 p.m. from the Kapustin Yar test range in southern Russia's Astrakhan Region. Spokesman Col. Igor Yegorov said the missile hit the designated target in a Kazakhstan test range.

The Topol RS-12M is a single warhead, and has been used by the Russian military since 1985. It has a range of 6,125 miles, and can carry a 550-kiloton nuclear warhead.

The missile also was tested successfully in October, when it hit its target in the Kazakhstan test range. The missile has been tested periodically since 2007 in order to confirm the stability of main characteristics, according to RT news service.

The life expectancy of the missile was initially 10 years, but with continued testing and improvements was extended to 25 years.

The Defense Ministry plans to replace its SS-18 Satan, SS-19 Stiletto and SS-25 Sickle (Topol) ICBMs with SS-27 Sickle-B (Topol-M) and RS-24 Yars missiles by 2021.

The missile is approximately the same size and shape as the United States' Minuteman intercontinental three-stage ballistic missile.