MOSCOW --- The Iskander-M (NATO reporting name: SS-26 Stone) tactical ballistic missile system will be operational during the next 25-30 years and proposals for its upgrade are being considered by Russia’s Defense Ministry, General Designer of the Machine-Building Design Bureau Valery Kashin told TASS.
"We have worked out proposals to upgrade the system. They are being considered by the Defense Ministry. However, innovations should be timed to big events. By the early 2020s, ten years will have passed since the first brigade received the Iskander-M system and it will be time to repair it," Kashin said.
According to him, the upgrade of Iskander-M systems should be synchronized with their repair and maintenance so as not to reduce brigades’ combat readiness.
"As far as the service life of operational Iskander-M systems is concerned, we believe that the system will be in service as much as its predecessors, i.e. 25-30 years. The Tochka system entered service more than 40 years ago, while the Tochka-U reached its initial operational capability 30 years ago," the general designer said.
According to him, the deliveries of Iskander-M systems envisage the construction of all required infrastructure, including accommodations, depots and launch sites.
"This implies serious expenses. It will be irrational spending of budget funds if we manufacture new systems every five-ten years. At the same time, new military hardware may be developed and new political problems and border threats may emerge. Naturally, we will respond to this by upgrading the system," Kashin added.