RS-26 Rubezh
TypeIntercontinental ballistic missile
Place of originRussia
Service history
Used byRussian Strategic Missile Troops
Production history
DesignerMoscow Institute of Thermal Technology
Mass36,000 kilograms (80,000 lb)
Warhead4x each 150/300 Kt MIRV

EngineSolid-fueled (last stage or warhead block can have liquid)
Propellantsolid, third or fourth stage (warhead block) can be liquid
5800 km demonstrated [1]
Flight altitudeSeveral tens of km
Maximum speed over Mach 20 (24,500 km/h; 15,200 mph; 6.81 km/s)
Inertial with GLONASS
Accuracy90-250 m CEP[citation needed]
Road-mobile TEL

The RS-26 Rubezh (in Russian: РС-26 Рубеж) (frontier or boundary, also known under the name of its R&D program Avangard Авангард) SS-X-31 or SS-X-29B (another version of SS-27),[2] is a Russian solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile, equipped with a thermonuclear MIRV or MaRV payload. The missile is also intended to be capable of carrying the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle. The RS-26 is based on RS-24 Yars, and constitutes a shorter version of the RS-24 with one fewer stages.[3][4] The development process of the RS-26 has been largely comparable to that of the RSD-10 Pioneer, a shortened derivative of the RT-21 Temp 2S. Deployment of the RS-26 is speculated to have a similar strategic impact as the RSD-10.[5]

After an initial failure in 2011, it was first test-launched successfully from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on May 26, 2012,[6][7] hitting its target at the Kura Range 5,800 km away minutes later. Further successful tests were performed from Kapustin Yar to Sary Shagan in 2012[8][9] and 2013.[10] In 2018, however, it was reported that development of the RS-26 had been frozen until at least 2027, with funding diverted toward continued development of the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle.[11]

Political criticism

The missile has been criticized by western defense observers for indirectly breaching the INF Treaty. The missile demonstrated, with a light or no payload, the ability to reach above the agreed 5500 km limit of the treaty. However all further testing have been flights with significantly shorter ranges. The RS-26 was twice tested at a distance of about 2000 km.[12] While the RS-26 is technically an ICBM, its range falls just barely inside the ICBM category. According to a US magazine article, the RS-26 is exactly the same concept and a direct replacement for the RSD-10 Pioneer—known to NATO as the SS-20 Saber—which was banned under the INF treaty.[13]

The RS-26 is designed to pose a strategic threat to European capitals and has the ability to target NATO forces in Western Europe. According to an article by Jeffrey Lewis entitled "The Problem With Russia's Missiles", the purpose of these weapons is to deter Western forces from coming to the aid of the NATO's newer eastern members that are located closer to Russia's borders.[14]

See also


  1. ^ ARG. "RS-26 Rubezh Intercontinental Ballistic Missile -".
  2. ^ Kristensen, Hans (7 May 2014). "Russian ICBM Force Modernization: Arms Control Please!". Federation Of American Scientists. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  3. ^ "RS-26 Rubezh / Avangard - Road Mobile ICBM". Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Russia's hypersonic trump card edges closer to reality". 23 Oct 2013. Archived from the original on 19 July 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  5. ^ Forss, Stefan (6 April 2017). "Russia's New Intermediate Range Missiles - Back to the 1970s".
  6. ^ "Russia tests secret missile after Nato shield launched". BBC News. BBC. 23 May 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  7. ^ Podvig, Pavel (23 May 2012). "Russia tests prototype of a new ICBM". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Russia to create new missiles to compete with U.S." Missile Threat. 9 January 2013. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  9. ^ Podvig, Pavel (24 Oct 2012). "New ICBM tested in Kapustin Yar". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  10. ^ Podvig, Pavel (6 Jun 2013). "Russia continues tests of new ICBM, named Rubezh". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Avangard hypersonic missiles replace Rubezh ICBMs in Russia's armament plan through 2027".
  12. ^ "Russia's Rubezh Ballistic Missile Disappears off the Radar". Jamestown.
  13. ^ Majumdar, Dave (14 February 2017). "Russia's Dangerous Nuclear Forces are Back".
  14. ^ Lewis, Jeffrey (29 July 2014). "The Problem With Russia's Missiles". Foreign Policy.