Russia will be continuing to conduct tests of its new RS-28 Sarmat, an advanced silo-based system is equipped with a heavy liquid-propellant ICBM. The platform, which could enter service with Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) next year, can reportedly penetrate any existing missile defense–at least according to Moscow. The next test of the Sarmat is scheduled to take place in the coming months, said the head of JSC Karsmash, the leading producer of Russian ballistic missiles.
“The first test launched will be conducted in this year. They are scheduled for the third quarter,” Krasmash Director General Alexander Gavrilov told Tass on Thursday.
Following the tests, the Sarmat will then begin its state trials next year, with the first regiment of the ballistic missile entering combat service by the end of 2022. Earlier this year, a source in the Russian defense industry had said that three launches of the Sarmat ICBM would be carried out as part of flight development tests this year.
Sarmat: Russia’s New ICBM, Explained
The RS-28 Sarmat is a liquid-fueled, multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) that was developed by the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau. Development of the ICBM began in 2009 to replace R-36M2 Voevoda missiles, which have been operational since the 1970s. The new silo-based ICBM has been in development since the early 2002s. It weighs about 200 tonnes, and has a throw weight of around 10 tonnes, along with the claimed capability of breaching any existing and future missile defenses along with a range of 18,000 kilometers or 11,000 miles, which would put virtually any location on the globe within range.
It can fly by unpredictable routes and bypass missile defense areas, including over the North and South Poles while approaching targets from directions that are not envisaged for the interception, Moscow has claimed. The platform further features a completely new means to counter missile defense, and according to past reports, its active flight stage, when the missile accelerates and is visible and vulnerable to missile defense, has been reduced. Additionally, the Sarmat’s engines rapidly boost the missile to the safe zone, which could make it invulnerable for the missile defense until it reaches the main flight trajectory.
Even more worrisome is the fact that Sarmat could be used to carry a line of reentry vehicles, including hypersonic Avangard gliders. Military experts have warned that Sarmat missiles will help deter the United States’ plans of deploying its global missile defense system.
The platform has earned praise from Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin who has proclaimed that even the most advanced anti-ballistic missile defenses would prove inadequate against it. The RS-28 Sarmat is named for the “nomadic Sarmatian tribes,” who had lived in the 6th-4th centuries BC on the territory of present-day Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.