International Relations, Science and Technology
In news: Russia has promised its ally Belarus delivery of nuclear- capable missiles in the coming months to take on an “aggressive” West.
What is the Iskander-M missile system?
- Codenamed “SS-26 Stone” by NATO, Iskander-M is a term used by Russia to define 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 Iskander-M system has been exclusively used by the Russian military, whereas Iskander-E is the one meant for export
What is the missile’s capability and range?
- The Iskander-M missile has a range of 500 km and it can carry a payload of up to 700 kg.
- 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.
- Russia first used the Iskander in combat in Georgia in 2008.
- US-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), says that 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.
What does its proposed delivery to Belarus mean?
- A sort of warning to the West against climbing the escalation ladder in the Ukraine war
- 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.
Source: Indian Express
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