Russia has reportedly switched the nuclear-capable Sarmat RS-28 intercontinental ballistic missile into operational mode, in what President Vladimir Putin previously described as a move that would make Russia’s enemies “think twice.” This statement was announced by Yury Borisov, head of Roskosmos, Russia’s space agency, amid increased rhetoric and nuclear threats in recent weeks.
As reported by Arab News on Saturday, September 2, 2023, this change comes in line with the progress of the Ukrainian counteroffensive which began last June. Earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin announced that the intercontinental ballistic missile would soon be deployed for combat duty. “This has no equal in the world and will not last long,” Putin said at the time.
Escalation of US involvement
In February, media reports citing U.S. official sources stated that Moscow was expect to conduct a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). To coincide with US President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine. This information was obtaine from a source in the US Department of Defense, who note that Russia’s warning about this missile launch was conveye via media channels link to the Strategic
Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
A US official stated that such actions are often conside routine by Moscow. However, the increasing tension in this conflict indicates that Russia may actually intend to use the nuclear-powered missile. Observers predict that if Russia continues to threaten, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could enter the nuclear era phase, with the direct involvement of the US and NATO.
Then, what are the specifications of this Sarmat missile?
Sarmat RS-28 Missile Specifications
The missile is 116 feet long or as tall as a 14-story building and weighs up to 220 tons. The missile can reportedly carry up to 15 light nuclear warheads as part of Multiple Independently Targetable Re-Entry Vehicles (MIRV),” according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Satan 2 or Sarmat is estimate to have a range of between 10,000 and 18,000 kilometers. And is said to able destroy England. Quoting The National News, President Vladimir Putin called the Sarmat missile a truly unique weapon capable of overcoming all modern anti-missile defense tools.
Russia’s most powerful missile
The Sarmat is a heavy missile that has been in development for almost a decade to replace the Soviet-made Voyevoda. Sarmat is a nuclear transformation (thermonuclear) which is consider the most powerful Russian ICBM.
Development of the Sarmat missile
Sarmat orbital missile technology was pioneer by the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s. However, the Soviet Union deactivated and dismantled the fractional orbital bombardment system in 1982, citing questionable accuracy and defensive requirements. There are also concerns that have arisen among member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Quoting Missile Threat
the Sarmat is design to replace Russia’s aging SS-18 Satan ICBM. The RS-28 Sarmat began development in the 2000s. After awarding production contracts to the Makeyev Design Bureau and NPOMash in early 2011, Russia completed research and development of the Sarmat ICBM on 21 July 2011.
After that, Russia completed its first missile prototype at the end of 2015. In December 2017, Russia carried out the first test after which it was discover that there were technical deficiencies in the launch system. The next two silo ejection tests in March and May 2018 were successful.