Russian Strategic Missile Forces in Orenburg have begun mass command and control exercises involving the 3,000 members of the 31st Rocket Army. The 31st is one of the three rocket armies within Russian Strategic Rocket Forces headquartered in Orenburg. The 31st Rocket Army was formed on 8 June 1970, on the base of the 18th Separate Rocket Corps. The 31st Army is equipped with R-36M and RT-2PM Topol intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The drills will focus on deployment, withdrawal from air attack, and survival measures of the batteries. While Russian state-owned media did not comment on the extent of the drills, they alluded to an immediate start time, at a period of heightened tensions with NATO over Russia’s “Special Military Mission” in Ukraine.
There are three rocket divisions that are under command of the 31st Army:
8th Rocket Division at Pervomaysky, Kirov Oblast
13th Red Banner Rocket Division at Dombarovsky, Orenburg Oblast
42nd Rocket Division – Svobodny, Sverdlovsk Oblast with 36 mobile RT-2PM Topol.
The R-36M is a silo-launched ICBM with 10 × 550–750 kiloton MIRV warheads with a large number of decoys and other penetration aids. Originally (Mod. 1), 1 × 18–25 megaton warhead. NATO: SS-9 Scarp.
The RT-2PM is a road-mobile missile that has a single 800kt warhead, but there are other variants. NATO: SS-25 Sickle.