President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday that work on the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile is nearing completion, just in time for the new year and the change in occupants at the White House.
The RS-28 Sarmat, nicknamed Satan 2, is a Russian liquid-fueled, heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which has been under development by the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau since 2009. The Sarmat, which is expected to go into service in 2021, is one of six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled by Putin in 2018.
In December 2019, during the exhibition of the modern weapon systems at the National Defense Management Center, it was reported that Sarmat is capable of a “35,000 km sub-orbital flight” – that’s 21,748 miles, just shy of the equatorial circumference of Earth (but long enough to hit anywhere in the Western world).
The same report said that between 2020 and 2027, “twenty missile regiments are planned to be rearmed with the RS-28.”
Speaking at his annual press conference, Putin announced that “work on the Sarmat proceeds actively, and is now at the final stage. As for the [unmanned underwater vehicle] Poseidon, work on it goes on well. Work on a missile with a nuclear global-distance system also proceeds as scheduled.”
President-elect Joe Biden has been saying that he intends to be tough on Russia, especially in response to the massive cyber attack on federal agencies in December which has been attributed to Moscow. Biden said he would impose costs for any Russian aggression. In fact, his team is working on a “cost imposition strategy” in response to every single Russian disruptive action, which would be met with ever-increased economic sanctions.
“A good defense isn’t enough,” the President-elect said in a mid-December statement about the Russian hack, without mentioning Russia by name. “We need to disrupt and deter our adversaries from undertaking significant cyber-attacks in the first place. We will do that by, among other things, imposing substantial costs on those responsible for such malicious attacks, including in coordination with our allies and partners.”
So the Russians are responding with a show of the biggest bang imaginable. The RS-28 Sarmat is an advanced silo-based system with a heavy liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile. It weighs about 200 tons and, according to President Putin, is capable of breaching any existing and future missile defenses. The Sarmat has a short boost phase, which cuts the time it can be tracked by the American space-based infrared system, making it more difficult to intercept.
Good to know.
Back in 2018, Konstruktor magazine interviewed Vladimir Degtyar, the CEO of the Makeye Design Bureau, who boasted the US is 40 years from being able to counter the nuclear-capable ICBM RS-28 Sarmat. Degtyar suggested Satan 2’s overwhelming power would guarantee peace for Russia for at least 40 years, despite the deployment of a US global missile shield. Satan 2 would cut through it.