Russia successfully tests long-range missile: ministry

MOSCOW, Dec 24, 2009 (AFP) - Russia on Thursday successfully test launched a nuclear-capable missile that struck its target across the country in the Russian Far East, Russian news agencies said, citing the defence ministry.

"Pre-launch operations, the launch and flight went strictly according to plan," a spokesman for Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, Colonel Vadim Konval, was quoted by Interfax as saying.

"The test hit the intended target area on the Kamchatka peninsula with astounding accuracy," he said.

The RS-20V Voevoda intercontinental ballistic missile -- known by the NATO codename Satan -- launched at around 0630 GMT from Orenburg in the south Urals and hit its hypothetical target on the Kamchatka Peninsula, the spokesman said.

The test firing aimed to check the missile's flight and technical characteristics to extend the service life of the Voevoda-type systems up to 23 years, he told ITAR-TASS.

The land-based RS-20V missiles, developed in 1988, can be equipped with 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads and has a maximum 11,000 kilometres (6,840 miles) range.

Earlier this month, the latest test launch of Russia's new nuclear-capable Bulava missile failed over the White Sea, resulting in a mysterious plume of light that appeared in the sky over Norway on December 10.

The Bulava missile is central to Russia's plan to revamp its ageing weapons arsenal, but has been dogged by persistent technical problems.

Source: AFP

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