President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia is developing a new form of nuclear missile unlike those held by other countries, news agencies reported.
Speaking at a meeting of the Armed Forces' leadership, Putin reportedly said that Russia is researching and successfully testing new nuclear missile systems.
"I am sure that ... they will be put in service within the next few years and, what is more, they will be developments of the kind that other nuclear powers do not and will not have," Putin was quoted as saying by the ITAR-Tass news agency.
Putin reportedly said: "International terrorism is one of the major threats for Russia. We understand as soon as we ignore such components of our defense as a nuclear and missile shield, other threats may occur."
No details were immediately available, but Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said earlier this month that Russia expected to test-fire a mobile version of its Topol-M ballistic missile this year and that production of the new weapon could be commissioned in 2005.
News reports have also said Russia is believed to be developing a next-generation heavy nuclear missile that could carry up to 10 nuclear warheads weighing a total of 4.4 tons, compared with the Topol-M's 1.32-ton combat payload.
Topol-Ms have been deployed in silos since 1998. The missiles have a range of about 6,000 miles and reportedly can maneuver in ways that are difficult to detect.
Earlier this year, a senior Defense Ministry official was quoted as telling news agencies that Russia had developed a weapon that could make the United States' proposed missile-defense system useless. Details were not given, but military analysts said the claimed new weapon could be a hypersonic cruise missile or maneuverable ballistic missile warheads.