Russia Deploys ‘World’s Deadliest’ Intercontinental Ballistic Missile – RS-28 Sarmat – On Combat Duty: Roscomos Chief

The RS-28 Sarmat Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), touted by Russia as the “world’s deadliest missile,” has now been deployed, according to Roscosmos Chief Yury Borisov.

The RS-28 Sarmat is Russia’s next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), anticipated to serve as the core element of the nation’s silo-based strategic deterrent.

During an open lesson of the educational marathon hosted by Russia’s Knowledge Society on September 1, the head of Roscosmos announced that the Sarmat strategic system has been placed on “combat alert posture.”

“The Sarmat strategic complex has been put on combat duty,” he said. However, the head of Roscosmos refrained from revealing the precise deployment date or location during the announcement.

The first launch of the Sarmat ICBM was conducted on April 20, 2022, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region. This event occurred just months after Russia invaded Ukraine. 

The launch objectives were successfully met, and the missile’s design parameters were validated throughout its flight. Additionally, practice warheads reached their designated destination within the Kura training range on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

President Putin warned at the time that the missile would “give thought to those who are trying to threaten Russia.”

However, Western experts labeled the 2022 test as a form of “nuclear saber-rattling,” viewing it as a potential effort to divert attention from Russia’s military setbacks during that period, including incidents like the sinking of its Black Sea flagship, the Moskva. 

In November 2022, Russia announced that the RS-28 Sarmat Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) had entered serial production. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared on February 23 that the advanced Sarmat system would assume combat duty in Russia within the same year.

Furthermore, on June 21, President Vladimir Putin reiterated that the Sarmat strategic complex would be ready to take up combat duty “in the near future.” 

Given the new announcement from the head of Roscosmos, the missile has now been deployed for combat duty. 

Russia’s RS-28 Sarmat ICBM

The RS-28 Sarmat, nicknamed the Satan II in the West, is recognized as Russia’s most formidable Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), featuring a super-heavy design armed with a thermonuclear warhead capable of reaching intercontinental distances.

This missile was introduced during a 2018 Russian state-of-the-nation address and was touted by President Putin as a “next-generation” weapon capable of evading any missile defense system.

According to details disclosed during the Army-2019 exhibition, the Sarmat Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile boasts an impressive range of 18,000 kilometers and a substantial launch weight exceeding 200 tons, with 178 tons attributed to fuel. The missile’s dimensions include a diameter of 3 meters and an overall length of 35.5 meters. 

This missile stands out due to its exceptional speed and range, unmatched precision, and capability to penetrate anti-missile defense systems without vulnerability.

Sarmat can carry 15 light nuclear warheads concurrently, allowing a single missile to potentially strike multiple targets simultaneously because of the configuration of these warheads as Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs).

File Image: Sarmat Missile

The Sarmat was intended to replace the Soviet-designed R-36M2 Voyevoda ICBM, which was initially developed in 1962 and could carry three warheads. 

In contrast, the Sarmat weighs a staggering 200 metric tons (220 tons) and boasts an extended range, enabling it to travel over the North or South poles and strike targets anywhere in the world, as noted by Putin in 2018. 

Furthermore, the Sarmat can carry a more significant number of powerful nuclear warheads. Initially, Moscow had outlined a timeline to conclude the Sarmat trials by the year 2021, with the subsequent objective of promptly introducing it into the arsenal of the military. 

However, several test launches, typically considered late-stage trials in arms development, were delayed until 2022. 

The Russian defense ministry has frequently emphasized that the Sarmat boasts the most incredible destructive range and is the most potent missile globally. It is expected to significantly enhance the combat capabilities of the country’s strategic nuclear forces.

In February 2023, while President Joe Biden was on a visit to Ukraine, Russia attempted to test its powerful SARMAT missile; however, it was claimed by US officials at that time that the test failed. 

In 2022, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby informed the press that the United States did not view this weapon as threatening Washington or its allies.