Subject: INSIGHT - RUSSIA - Iskander Missile
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2009 15:33:19 -0600
From: Lauren Goodrich
To: 'Secure List' , George Friedman
ATTRIBUTION: STRATFOR sources Moscow
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Russia's Defense Council (group of defense
specialists from Ministry, Militaries & GRU) that report to Puty
SOURCE RELIABILITY: 2
ITEM CREDIBILITY: high
The Iskandar is of great use to Russia and much focus. It has been highly
successful both technologically and strategically. They consider the
Iskander the most effective and deadly nonstrategic (and even perhaps
strategic) ballistic missile in existence.
It is better than the Oka, which worried the US so much because of its
accuracy. But the Iskander is considered so much better. INF wiped out the
Oka, but the Iskander falls underneath the INF-for now. The Oka was/is to
replace the Elbrus, Tochka and Tockka-U and now the Iskandar replaces them
both, but with a new and more modern highly accurate propellant of a
short-range ballistic missile with a range of 500 km. Its accuracy is now
averaging of 10 meters or better. Its high velocity allows the missile to
penetrate antimissile defenses. It can fly low and make evasive maneuvers
in order to prevent interception by surface air missiles. It has
conventional warhead options and more recently Russia has been toying with
adding a nuclear warhead (but not officially).
There are two types of Iskanders. The 9K723 Iskander-M that is now
deployed in Russia and the 9K720 Iskander-E that is for export. The
former's range is of 450-500 km and the latter is of 280 km because of the
[he went on about the delivery vehicles with a ton of technical jargon I
am too tired to translate, but will if you're interested].
Each Iskander operational battalions has two TEL reload vehicles, two
command and control vehicles and a crew. Russia has created missile
brigades for each system-this is new for Russia. (Each brigade ideally-in
the future-- will have 3 missile battalions, with 12 TELs and 12
transporter-load vehicles with a total of 48 ballistic missiles).
The state tests for Iskander were done in 2004 and the batallions were
formed and put into service by the end of 2007.
Now the developers of the Iskander system are toying with further
development of its warfighting capabilities, including the integration of
the high-precision R-500 subsonic cruise missile. The R-500 is a more
conventional version of the old Soviet 3M10 long-range cruise missile with
a range of 2600 km, which was put on the Russian nuclear attack subs.
These were eliminated also under INF-for now. This testing will be wrapped
up by the end of 2009, since it has been successful thus far. After that
it is a political decision in whether to put it into service, though 6
missles with the R-500s are already ready to be implemented.
So at present everything that Russia has "implemented" falls under INF-but
that seems to be a short time issue at present, which is why Russia is
playing with the options.
By the time 2015 rolls around, 60 Iskanders will have been produced and
There are already 5 Iskander Missile Brigades in service and stationed
26th - Luga, near St. Petersburg (in training and implementation stage)
92nd - in Kamenka, near Penza/Volga-Urals (done with training and
103rd - in Ulan-Ude, in Siberia (in training and implementation stage)
107th in Semistochni, near Birobidzhan/Far East (done with training and
almost done with implementation)
114th in Znamensk, near Astrakhan in the Northern Caucasus. (in training
and implementation stage)
These are the brigades that did have the Tochka and Tochka-U. The 92nd and
107th were the first to get it and the 26th, 103rd and 114th are still
currently being implemented and trained but should be completed by the end
Note that this does not include a Brigade in Kaliningrad, the two from
Moscow district or the other Northern Caucasus brigades. These will have
to wait until after the first 5 brigades are ready, trained and
implemented. Also, the Kaliningrad decision is highly political, since it
could reach into Germany or take out any American bmd system. If the R-500
system were ever implemented, it would be able to take out targets all
across Europe with highly precise accuracy-again, a political decision.
The 630th Iskander Brigade - which trains the other Brigades - took part
in the Russia-Georgia war. [LG: he wouldn't go further into how the
Iskander was or the other missiles the Brigade uses were used in the
war..... but I had heard of Iskanders possibly used against Georgian tank
battalions in Gori, but never heard confirmation of such.... This seems
like partial confirmation to me].
Director of Analysis
Senior Eurasia Analyst