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Russia test-fires aging ballistic missile

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October 12, 2000 


MOSCOW (AP) - Russia test-fired a 16-year-old Topol ballistic missile on Wednesday to determine whether the aging class of missile is still reliable, a military spokesman said.

Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces are upgrading to a newer version of the missile called the Topol-M, but will also extend the original service life on the Topol, said Maxim Fedin, a spokesman with the rocket forces.

The older missile flew about 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) without a glitch and struck its target on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East on Wednesday, said Fedin. The missile carried a dummy warhead, he said.

He did not say what type of problems might have developed because of the missile's age.

Most of Russia's long-range missiles besides the new Topol-M are either past their original service lifetime or will have to be dismantled under the START-II arms reduction treaty.

Meanwhile, a new round of consultations between Russian and American arms negotiators on the START-III treaty, which envisions even deeper cuts, was scheduled to begin in Moscow next week, the Interfax news agency reported.

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