The RS-28 Sarmat, also known as “The Satan,” gained attention again after the Russian President announced that it would be deployed by the end of 2022.
Russia’s newest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Sarmat, with nuclear capability, will be deployed by the end of 2022, said President Vladimir Putin on 21 June.
“We have successfully tested the Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile. According to the plan, the first such system will enter combat duty at the end of the year,” Putin stated in a speech to graduating cadets, reported RT.
The missile will replace the aging Voyevoda systems, also referred to by NATO as SS-18 Satan. The Sarmat, also known as “Satan 2,” is the mightiest missile of its class in terms of range and warheads, according to Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, who made the statement in April.
This missile system is reportedly immune to all existing air defenses. Sarmats are faster than Voyevodas and “can strike targets at virtually unlimited range,” Rogozin added.
The commander of Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces, Colonel-General Sergei Karakaev, declared that by the end of 2022, 86% of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces’ arsenal would be upgraded with top-tier combat-ready missiles like the Sarmat and the Avangard hypersonic glide weapon.
Since the testing in April, the missile has been viewed as the biggest threat to the United States and its allies. In late May, Russian state television commentators made a series of unsettling threats against the United States, warning that Vladimir Putin might raze the “entire east coast” with two missiles.
In an interview on Russian Television, Guest Alexie Zhuravlev discussed the war situation with a fellow lawmaker and popular program host, Yevgeny Popov. Popov claimed that just two of Russia’s Sarmat missiles, known in the West as the “Satan 2,” could obliterate the east coast.
He went on to say that the Kremlin could devastate the west coast with another pair of missiles. “Four missiles, and there’ll be nothing left,” he added. In a separate interview, Zhuravlyov stated that the Sarmat would reduce the United States to “nuclear ashes” if they “think Russia should not exist.”
Similarly, Dmitry Rogozin stated the missiles could devastate large areas of the United States before turning his head to the United Kingdom and claiming that the missile might reach British targets in 200 seconds.
Most of these threats involve the world-ending Satan II missile, which is said to be capable of carrying warheads with 50 times the obliteration power of the Hiroshima bomb.
John Erath, Senior Policy Director at the Center for Arms control and Non-Proliferation, was quoted by the Washington Post as saying, “Russia has always had a substantial number of ICBMs that could strike the United States and Europe, said John Erath, senior policy director for the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.”
Putin’s recent threats are more worrisome than the weapon itself, Erath said. “We should be very concerned about this practice of making threats as an instrument of Russian policy [that] is gaining currency,” Erath added.
What Makes The Missile System Lethal?
Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are comparable to rockets that launch satellites and humans into orbit. However, ICBMs carry warheads and attack targets on the ground. The missiles cruise in a wide circle over Earth, allowing them to attack anywhere in the world within an hour.
The Sarmat missile, first described by Putin in a 2018 state-of-the-nation address as the “next generation” of nuclear missile technology, is 116 feet (35.3 meters) long and weighs 200 metric tons.
The missile Russia built in the early 2000s can deliver up to 15 light nuclear warheads in an array known as a MIRV (Multiple Independently Targetable Re-Entry Vehicles). MIRVs are a missile type developed in the early 1960s to enable an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to deliver multiple warheads to various targets.
The missile system, officially known as RS-28 Sarmat, is capable of using trajectory and unpredictable routes that “substantially impede their destruction even by advanced missile defense systems,”
How Powerful Is Sarmat?
When compared to silo-based rockets, the new Russian rocket appears fearsome. It can carry a maximum payload of approximately 50 megatons of TNT, as opposed to the US Minuteman III, which can deliver a maximum load of 1.425 megatons, according to the CSIS.
Satan 2 reportedly also features sophisticated guidance systems and, most likely, countermeasures intended to fool anti-missile defense systems. According to experts, this may comprise a couple dozen very lightweight decoys designed to look like the warhead, which could lead to a kill vehicle attacking the wrong object.
Previously, Colonel-General Sergei Karakaev said Sarmat missiles could soar over the North and South Poles and other tracks.
“Due to the power-to-weight ratio of the new missile system, the trajectory can change. From our notorious trajectory through the North Pole, if necessary, it is possible to lay a trajectory through the South Pole, which, in principle, is not protected today. And there are also possibilities for other trajectories – in terms of the possibility of launching into outer space,” Karakaev told the Zvezda TV channel.
He claimed that developing means of intercepting Sarmat in the coming decades would be challenging. “Today, they say that air defense does not exist for the Sarmat missile system, and it probably will not exist in the coming decades,” Karakaev predicted.
He stressed that Sarmat is a liquid-propellant rocket that accelerates nearly as quickly as missiles with light solid rocket motors making it difficult to intercept.
An RS-28 rocket is “capable of wiping out parts of the Earth the size of France or Texas,” according to a prior claim from the Russian news agency Sputnik. According to other reports, the weapon has the potential to “wipe out an area the size of England and Wales twice over.”