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Iskander-M missile system

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    6th Jul, 2022

Context

Russia is planning to send nuclear capable short-range missile systems to its ally Belarus in the coming months. 

About

Iskander-M system:

  • The Iskander-M is a mobile guided missile system code-named "SS-26 Stone" by NATO, which replaced the Soviet "Scud."
  • Russia defines Iskander-M System as both the transporter-erector launch system and the short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) it fires.
  • The system can also fire ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) – the SSC-7 and the SSC-8.
  • The Iskander-M system has been exclusively used by the Russian military, whereas Iskander-E is the one meant for export.
  • The Iskander missiles are designed to confuse missile defences by flying on a low trajectory and manoeuvring in flight to strike targets within 2 to 5 metres accuracy.

Missile’s capability and range:

  • Range: The Iskander-M missile has a range of 500 km and it can carry a payload of up to 700 kg.
  • Weapon: It is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads.
  • The conventional warheads can be equipped with include cluster bombs, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) warheads and bunker-buster munitions. 
  • The export variant, Iskander-E, has a range of 280 km with a reduced 480 kg payload.

Introduction and usage:

  • Iskander system was inducted by Russia in 2006.
  • Its development picked pace in the late 1980s after the “Oka” SRBM or the OTR-23 was banned under the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. 
  • The Oka was Russia’s first attempt to replace the Soviet Scud missiles.
  • Iskander was the second.
  • Russia first used the Iskander in combat in Georgia in 2008.

Warning to the west:

  • Russia has used the Iskander system to project power against Europe, more so because of its ability to be fitted with tactical nuclear warheads.
  • In 2012, Moscow said that the weapon could be used to target Europe’s missile defences.
  • The Iskander system has already been deployed in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave, from where it can be fired to target NATO forces in Poland, the Baltic States, and Sweden.
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