On January 23rd, the Russian Ministry of Defense held a demonstration for media and foreign military attaches the Iskander-M system’s 9M729 missile, as well as the missile’s transportation and launch container at a briefing held at the Patriot theme park.
“A special configuration of the self-propelled launcher was developed for the 9M729 missile. It accommodates four 9M729 missiles, while the previous launcher carries two 9M728 missiles,” the commander of Russia’s Missile and Artillery Force, Lieutenant-General Mikhail Matveyevsky said.
TASS cited an anonymous source close to the event, who said that US representatives did not attend the demonstration.
“There were no Americans at the briefing,” the source said.
TASS further reported the following specifics regarding the missile in question:
“The cruise missile 9M729 is a newer configuration of the cruise missile 9M728, which is part of the system Iskander-M. It was developed by the design bureau Novator in Yekaterinburg. The 9M729 missile has a higher yield warhead and a new control system for greater accuracy. Most parts and components of the 9M728 and 9M729 missiles are identical.”
On January 23rd, the head of the Missile Troops and Artillery of Russia’s Ground Forces Lieutenant-General Mikhail Matveyevsky told a briefing on the 9M729 missile for military attaches that Russia is not in breach of any of the treaty’s provisions.
“Russia has observed and continues strictly observing the points of the Treaty and does not allow any violations,” Matveyevsky said.
The military official noted that the ongoing US campaign on accusing Russia of violating the INF Treaty is groundless. The US claims that the range of the missile exceeds 500 kilometers, which would be in breach of the INF.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the 9M729 cruise missile issue would provide another chance for dialogue between the US and Russia. He said that any US demands to eliminate all 9M729 are absolutely unacceptable for Russia.
“The US delegation arrived in Geneva for inter-departmental consultations over the INF Treaty with the sole purpose: to read out statements written in advance to the effect that Russia rejects the ultimatum demanding our unilateral concessions implying verifiable elimination of all 9M729 missiles, their launchers and related equipment,” he said. “Naturally, this kind of approach by no means looks like a diligent attempt at achieving a solution that would suit both sides and is absolutely unacceptable for us in gist and content.”
He stressed that Russia will demonstrate the 9M729 cruise missile to representatives of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), BRICS, the European Union and NATO.
“Representatives of CSTO states, BRICS, the European Union and NATO have been invited for the event today, along with representatives of certain other European and Asian countries,” the diplomat said. “We set ourselves a task to provide foreign experts with an opportunity to make a true picture on their own,” Ryabkov said.
He concluded by saying that he hoped explanations regarding the 9M729 would provide another chance for dialogue between Russia and the US.
“We expect that the objective technical data provided by us and the arguments that have been cited will lead to the intensification of the thought process in the US, which will help give another chance to a dialogue aimed at preserving the INF Treaty. For our part, we continue to be ready for such work. It should be done with the mandatory mutual consideration of both parties’ interests and concerns and without any counterproductive ultimatums,” he said. “The treaty needs to be preserved. It is up to the American side to make the choice,” Ryabkov stressed.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov added that the US is testing weapons prohibited under the INF over the last 15 years. The Americans, according to Ryabkov, also tested attack drones, which according to their specifications fall under the description of a cruise missile banned under the treaty. At the same time, the use of US target missiles, which also, in essence, were short- and mid-range ground-based ballistic missiles, also raised questions.
It appears that Russia is open to continue the dialogue and rescue the treaty, whereas the US is strongly intending on leaving it.
On January 15th Russia and the US held inter-agency consultations on the INF treaty in Geneva. Those talks appeared to have resulted in failure, as both sides traded accusations of breaches. The US threatened to leave the treaty on February 2nd unless Russia destroys its 9M729 missiles, which allegedly violates the agreement.
Russian Defence Ministry briefs military attaches with presentation of 9M729 missile of Iskander-M complex (FULL TRANSCRIPT):
Today, at the Patriot Park Congress and Exhibition Center, the Ministry of Defence of Russia, within the framework of voluntary transparency, held a special briefing for foreign military attaches on the 9M729 missile.
The participants of the event were shown the missile for the first time (the 9M729 cruise missile of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system), and were also informed on the design of the sample and its performance characteristics.
In particular, at the observation deck one could see the self-propelled launcher in the starting position, the transport and launch container of the 9M729 product and the transport and launch container of the 9M728 cruise missile.
Some 250 reporters including over 100 representatives of foreign media outlets covered the briefing.
When addressing the participants, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov noted that “recent events clearly indicate that certain forces in the United States were not interested in giving us the opportunity to disprove their erroneous or fabricated information, because it would allow to close this question once and for all. ”
“It is clear that this problem was created and expanded by no means in order to get it off the agenda so easily,” the diplomat emphasized.
The Russian Defence Ministry was represented at the briefing by Lieutenant General Mikhail Matveyevsky, the chief of the missile troops and artillery of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
Report by chief of missile troops and artillery of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Lieutenant General Mikhail Matveyevsky.
The Treaty between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America on the elimination of their medium-range and shorter-range missiles was signed on December 8, 1987 in Washington, and is open-ended.
The parties have undertaken to eliminate their medium-range and shorter-range ground-based missiles, their launchers and related support facilities and equipment.
They also made a commitment not to produce any ground-based missiles of medium and shorter range, no stages and launchers of such missiles, and not to conduct flight tests of such missiles.
By June 1991 the USSR destroyed 1,846 middle-range and short-range missile, with 889 of them – middle-range and 957 of them – short-range missiles.
As a gesture of goodwill, the Soviet Union also eliminated the latest at that time missile of the Oka operational-tactical missile complex, with a maximum flight range of 400 km. In total 106 launchers and 239 missiles of the missile complex were eliminated, although it was not covered by the Treaty.
The existing obligations of the parties under the INF Treaty are a ban on the production of ground-based medium-range and shorter-range missiles, stages and launchers of such missiles, as well as to conduct flight tests of such missiles.
Russia has fulfilled and continues to strictly comply with the provisions of the Treaty and does not allow any violations.
Currently, the United States launched a campaign against Russia for violating the INF Treaty. Its essence boils down to the fact that a ground-based cruise missile has been created in the Russian Federation, allegedly having a range of over 500 km. At the same time, no objective data confirming Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty has been provided to us.
Today, as part of voluntary transparency, we will provide information on the 9M729 cruise missile, which according to the US version is identified with a violation of the Treaty of December 8, 1987.
The 9M729 cruise missile is a modernized version of the 9M728 cruise missile, which is part of the Iskander-M complex.
Modernization of the 9M728 cruise missile was aimed at increasing the power of the warhead and precision characteristics.
The 9M728 and 9M729 missiles are unified in most of the main units.
The 9M729 missile has combat equipment of increased power and a new onboard control complex, providing higher accuracy in engaging the target.
Changing the number of warheads and introduction of additional equipment while maintaining the diameter of the rocket led to an increase in its length and, accordingly, the size of the transport and launch container. The total length of the transport and launch container has increased by 53 cm.
I would like to emphasize that the 9M728 and 9M729 missiles are equipped with a warhead and are fueled only at the factory. The mass of fuel at the same time provides the maximum constructive range, limited by the requirements of the INF Treaty. They are delivered to the troops in special containers. Changing the mass of fuel and refueling missiles in military conditions is impossible.
In the troops, they only store the missile, maintain launchers and transport-charging vehicles, and routine maintenance are carried out.
I would like to speak more about design-layout schemes of the 9M728 and 9M729 missiles.
I would like to especially draw your attention to the fact that the starting and main engines with the fuel system of the 9M729 missile remained unchanged – the volume (mass) of fuel remains the same as in the 9M728 cruise missile.
However, the refinement of the head part and control system, along with an increase in the length led to an increase in its weight.
As a result, the maximum range of the 9M729 missile decreased by 10 km comparing to the 9M728 missile and is 480 km. The specified range was confirmed during the Zapad 2017 strategic command post exercise.
The overall dimensions of the 9M729 missile and its container that have changed in length do not allow it to be placed on a self-propelled launcher instead of the 9M728 product. Therefore, a specialized version of a self-propelled launcher was developed for the 9M729 missile. In addition, four 9M729 missiles, not two 9M728 missiles, as on the old launcher, are placed there. Accordingly, this led to an increase in the length of the launcher and its height.
As for the statements of the United States of America about missile launches at the Kapustin Yar range in the Astrakhan region, I can tell you that along with missile troops and artillery of the Land Forces, Strategic Missile Forces, Aerospace Forces and Army Air Defece of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation test their missiles at this interspecific training ground.
As you can see, a wide range of various products are being tested at the test site, including flights over a distance exceeding 500 km.
Thus, for the period from 2008 to 2014, more than 100 rocket launches for various purposes were conducted at the test site. At the same time, all launches of surface-to-surface missiles were conducted at a range not exceeding the limitations provided for by the INF Treaty. The only exceptions are the launches of missile systems of strategic purpose, about which the USA was notified under the Agreement of 1982.
Summing up, I would like to note that the presented indicators clearly demonstrate our increased transparency in the field of rocketry and confirm Russia’s commitment to unconditional implementation of the Treaty between the USSR and the USA on the elimination of their medium-range and shorter-range missiles.