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Russia bringing heavy Sarmat ICBM into service by 2021

Russia prioritises world’s most powerful nuclear missile for service

Russian Defence Shoigu has confirmed that Russia is working ’24/7′ on its new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) designated RS-28 Sarmat, which appears to be the military project to which Russia is currently giving the highest priority.

Sarmat is the successor of Russia’s previous heavy ICBM, the RS-20 Voevoda, which NATO calls “Satan”, which is the biggest and most powerful ICBM ever deployed.

Like Voevoda, Sarmat will use liquid fuel.  However, reflecting huge advances in chemical technology since the 1960s when Voevoda was first developed, Sarmat will be significantly smaller and lighter.

Despite being smaller and lighter than Voevoda, Sarmat will be the more powerful missile.  Understandably many of the details of this missile are classified.  However the Russians have released this much information about it

(1) Sarmat will have a significantly longer range – 17,000 kilometres – than Voevoda, whose range is 11,000 kilometres;

(2) Sarmat will have 15 multiple re-entry vehicles as compared with 10 for Voevoda.  They will be arranged along something the Russians call a ‘grapevine’, with each separating and continuing to its individual target in accordance with the warhead’s preprogrammed algorithm.  Each re-entry vehicle has a nuclear warhead with a yield estimated at between 150 and 300 kilotons.

By comparison, the nuclear bombs which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki had yields of between 12 to 18 and 18 to 23 kilotons respectively, whilst the nuclear device exploded by North Korea during its last nuclear test in September 2016 is variously estimated to have had a yield of between 10 and 30 kilotons.

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(3) Sarmat will have a hypersonic speed of over Mach 5 or 6 and will be constantly manoeuvring in flight to avoid being intercepted by any planned or existing anti missile system.

Lieutenant General Viktor Yesin, former commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Troops, says

Not a single enemy anti-missile system, whether existing or prospective, will be able to intercept the Sarmat: The missile will not care whether there is such a system or not

Initial deployment of Sarmat missiles will be with Strategic Missile Troops divisions stationed outside of Krasnoyarsk (4,150 km to the east of Moscow) and Orenburg (1,450 km to the east of Moscow), with the missile entering service in 2021.

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