RT-21M (SS-20 Sabre) Russian Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile
Based on the two upper stages of SS-16, this extremely useful mobile missile has much greater range, higher payload and greater accuracy that the DoD had predicted. In his annual statement in 1977 the DoD Secretary said SSX-20, as it then was, had "a range of 2,000 miles but this could be extended to 3,000 miles either by the addition of a third stage or offloading MIRVs". By 1978 the range estimates had jumped to the figures given below. Moreover, SS-20 poses other problems for SALT surveillance and negotiations because it falls outside the range provisions of such an agreement yet, by fitting an SS-16 first stage, it becomes an exceptionally powerful ICBM. Compared with the older weapons it replaced, such as SS-4 and SS-5, it is mobile, easily concealed, is fired from a tracked vehicle which can be rapidly reloaded, carried three MIRVs of 500-600 kilotons each and has accuracy of some 750 meters CEP when firing from a pre-surveyed site. Initial deployment was in mid-1978 predicted at 300-400 launchers plus reloads.
Dimensions: Length about 34 feet 6 inches; diameter 55 inches.
Launch Weight: Probably about 26,659 pounds.
Range: (3 x 600 kt) 3,542 miles (reduced payload) 4,660 miles.