Russia Tests World's Most Powerful Missile
Amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, Russia claims to have successfully tested the Sarmat (RS-28 Sarmat Test) from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region intercontinental ballistic missile which is the world's most powerful missile that is believed to be capable of penetrating any missile defence. It is colloquially known as Satan. Being dubbed as 'Satan 2' by the West, Sarmat can 'hit anything on Earth', can be fired over either of the Earth's poles. These missiles can also carry nuclear weapons with them. The successful test of the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile is a big and significant event for Russia's defence, Putin said adding that this will make Russia's enemies think twice.
The RS-28 Sarmat (NATO name Satan-II) is reported to be able to carry ten or more warheads and decoys and has the capability of firing over either of the earth’s poles with a range of 11,000 to 18,000 km. It is expected to pose a significant challenge to the ground-and-satellite-based radar tracking systems of the western powers, particularly the USA. The ten warheads are Multiple Independently-Targetable Re-entry Vehicles and each has a blast yield of .75 MT. The Sarmat will also be the first Russian missile which can carry smaller hypersonic boost-glide vehicles. These are manoeuvrable and hard to intercept. The upgraded electronic counter measures, guidance systems and alternative warhead carrying capacity makes the RS-28 Sarmat ICBM more lethal than the R-36M Voyevoda ICBMs (NATO name Satan) currently in service in Russia. Some reports say that while the height and weight of Sarmat ICBM is the same as in the older one, it has more speed and high throw weight. However, the Sarmat is a liquid fuelled missile as compared to US ICBMs which have moved on to solid fuel systems. Regardless of the different propulsion system, the Sarmat is supposed to pose a significant threat to the US Missile Defence Systems.
Sarmat Intercontinental Ballistic Missile has been designed by the Russian company Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau. This missile is under trial since 2009, and is planned to be commissioned in the Russian army only in 2022. It has been under development for years and so its test-launch is not a surprise for the West, but it comes at a moment of extreme geopolitical tension due to Russia's war in Ukraine. It is among Russia's next-generation missiles that Putin has called "invincible," and which also include the Kinzhal and Avangard hypersonic missiles.
According to a report by news agency TASS, the Sarmat is named after nomadic tribes that roamed the steppes of present-day Southern Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan in the early medieval period. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica: “Sarmatians were highly developed in horsemanship and warfare.” It goes on to say that the administrative capabilities and political expertise of Sarmatians contributed to their gaining widespread influence and by the 5th century BC they held control of the land between the Urals and the Don River. “In the 4th century they crossed the Don and conquered the Scythians, replacing them as rulers of almost all of southern Russia by the 2nd century,” it adds.
Amid the new Western sanctions that banned the exports of high-tech products to Russia and specifically targeted its arms industries in response to Moscow's action in Ukraine, Putin emphasized that the Sarmat is built exclusively from domestic components. The ministry said the Sarmat is capable of carrying hypersonic glide vehicles along with other types of warheads. The Russian military had previously said that the Avangard hypersonic vehicle could be fitted to the new missile. The military has said that the Avangard is capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound and making sharp maneuvers on its way to target to dodge the enemy’s missile shield. It has been fitted to the existing Soviet-built intercontinental ballistic missiles instead of older type warheads, and the first unit armed with the Avangard entered duty in December 2019.
The missile was being developed for years and the test does not come across as a surprise to western countries. Pentagon said the test is routine and not a threat to the US and its allies. Moscow had properly notified the United States before the test launch of Sarmat, the Pentagon said. US postponed its test of Minuteman III ICBM on March 2 to avoid escalating tensions with Russia, it said. Russia's nuclear forces will start taking delivery of the new missile "in the autumn of this year" once testing is complete, reports said.