The fourth-generation missile complexes were developed as the core of Strategic Rocket Forces to maintain military-strategic parity in 1990 – 2000 and as the platform for development of countermeasures to the propagandized layered ballistic missile defense system with space-based elements.

The development of these complexes was equally based on further improvements in performance of existing liquid-propellant ICBM and on many years of successful research, design, development, and test efforts to create solid propellant ICBM with performance capabilities as good as those of the world’s best missiles.

The main task was to provide invulnerability to missiles that have exceptional firing accuracy, which predetermined the new developments in Soviet missile technology:

  • development of missiles that can be launched in a nuclear attack on the missile deployment area;
  • development of rail-mobile solid-propellant missiles that would survive because of their mobility and location uncertainty.

These areas were represented by the R-36M2 and RT-23 UTTH missile complexes and the 15А18М, 15Zh60, and 15Zh61 missiles designed by Yuzhnoye.

The R-36М2 missile complex with a multipurpose heavy intercontinental ballistic missile, 15А18М, kills all types of hard targets protected by modern missile defense facilities in all types of military operations, including when multiple nuclear attacks are launched on the missile deployment area.

Successful engineering and test activities in combination with the higher industrial capabilities to produce reliable and resistant circuitry, high-performance solid-propellant mixtures, and structural erosion-resistant and heat protective materials made it possible to develop the RT-23 UTTH (15PO60) missile complex and the world’s unrivalled RT-23 UTTH (15P961) rail-mobile missile complex.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, development of strategic missile systems was terminated.