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12 Mar, 2018 10:05

Goodbye ‘Satan’: Russia to get rid of iconic ICBM & get top replacement

Russia will soon start scrapping its family of Soviet-era R-36M ICBMs, dubbed ‘Satan’ by NATO, according to the Defense Ministry. The missiles that will replace them, Sarmat, boast cutting-edge capabilities.

“It [Satan missile] is at the end of its life span, and we are about to start discarding that missile,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said.

Borisov did not elaborate on the exact model though. The R-36M intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was first deployed in 1975, becoming the most powerful silo-based strategic nuclear munition in the world. Two further modifications of the missile were made since then, and its booster stage also received tweaks.

The latest modification of the liquid-propelled missile is known in Russia as R-36M2 Voevoda, but in the West it’s dubbed with the more fearsome name, ‘Satan.’ The aging weapon will be replaced with new-generation Sarmat missiles, which are to become latest additions to Russian arsenal, Borisov said.

“There is no doubt that by the end of Voevoda’s resource capabilities, we will get new Sarmat missiles,” he said.

The ICBM is capable of overcoming missile defense systems and has already completed tests, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced during his state of the nation address on March 1. The missile “practically no range restrictions” and is capable of carrying a wide range of nuclear weapons. Sarmat missiles are compatible with existing R-36M silos and can fit into them with just some minor modification.

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