What is Moscow up to?
Russia is on a nuclear-capable missile testing spree, having tested short-range and both land and submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in recent months.
On June 16, Russia’s Ministry of Defense released a video showing troops testing a 9K720 Iskander short-range mobile missile system. The fifty-second clip is reportedly from exercises in Russia’s Far East region. The Iskander came into service in 2006 and was first used in the war with Georgia in 2008. Moscow designed it in order to replace its Scud missiles.
According to Missile Defense Advocacy, the Iskander has a “range of 400-500 km and uses both inertial and optical guidance systems to achieve an accuracy of 10-30 m CEP. It can carry conventional and nuclear warheads up to 700 kg and employs a maneuverable re-entry vehicle (MaRV) and decoys to defeat theater missile defense systems.” Other analyses have noted that the “Iskander complexes can fire different types of missiles, which is a truly unique quality.” The conventional munitions capable of being launched on the Iskander include cluster warheads, fuel-air explosives, and bunker-busters. The Iskander-M can also fire cruise missiles.