Russia is currently developing an advanced version of a ballistic missile, which was scrapped under a treaty signed between the former Soviet Union and the United States nearly three decades ago, during the Cold War, to eliminate nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with intermediate ranges.
The upgraded version of the OTR-23 Oka tactical ballistic missile system, which was assigned the NATO reporting name of SS-23 Spider, will be developed by using modern technologies to improve the system’s range and accuracy, Russia’s TASS news agency reported Wednesday, citing the country’s deputy defense minister Yuri Borisov.
“There is no need in restoring the old system. We’re developing a new complex,” Borisov said.
The OTR-23 Oka tactical ballistic missile system reportedly entered service in the Soviet army in 1983 to challenge the U.S. Army’s Patriot air defense missile systems. The Soviet military claimed at the time that the Oka system had a maximum range of 400 kilometers (248.5 miles).
Although the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), signed in 1987, required the destruction of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 kilometers (310.6 miles) and 5,500 kilometers (3,417.5 miles), the Oka system was nonetheless scrapped under the agreement.
By June 1, 1991 -- the treaty’s deadline -- a total of 2,692 of such weapons -- 846 from the U.S. and 1,846 from the Soviet Union -- had reportedly been destroyed.
Wednesday’s report came two days after the Russian military test-fired a short-range anti-missile system, “aimed at confirming the performance characteristics of missile defense shield anti-missiles operational in the Aerospace Defense Forces.”
Russia is also expected to increase the strength of its strategic missile forces to 13 divisions by 2020, while creating a joint formation with the Barguzin rail-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile systems, TASS reported.