Colonel-General Vladimir Popovkin, head of armaments for the Russian armed forces, told the Defense Ministry newspaper "Red Star" that
President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have both pledged to extend
But despite the billions of dollars spent since Putin came to power as president in 2000,
Defense analysts based in
One of these is the Bulava, a submarine-launched long-range nuclear missile which Putin says will be capable of penetrating any missile defenses -- a reference to
The Bulava, a modified version of the land-based Topol-M, has had a checkered history with several test launch failures and is running at least two years late.
The navy pronounced the latest Bulava exercise on Sept. 18 a success, saying the missile flew from the White Sea right across
Popovkin, who is also deputy defense minister, said he hoped the armed forces would accept the Bulava for service next year. Upgrading
"As long as we are a nuclear power, no hotheads will venture to attack our country," Popovkin said in the interview.
" ... We have already this year started fitting out strategic nuclear forces with the Topol-M missile," he added.
The first of these submarines, the Yuri Dolgoruky, was launched in February, six years after its original scheduled date, though it still lacks the missiles it was designed to carry.