Russian nuclear chief warns of absolute penetration
Russia’s newest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the RS-28 Sarmat, can penetrate any existing or future anti-missile systems, the commander of the country’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) has said.
“The missile system Sarmat has a wide range of capabilities for deploying various types of combat payloads and is based on principles that assure guaranteed penetration of any anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system, both now and in the future,” General Sergey Karakaev said in an interview with Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), the official newspaper of the Russian military.
The liquid-fueled heavy ICBM had its first successful test launch in April. It is meant to replace aging R-36M2 Voevoda missiles as the backbone of the silo-based component of Russian nuclear deterrence, which is operated by the SMF.
Sarmat “is superior to Voevoda in many characteristics. Its short boost phase allows earlier separation of the warheads and makes detection of the launching missile for subsequent interception much harder,” Karakaev explained.
Meanwhile, its energy capabilities allow a wider range of weapons and countermeasures to be deployed, according to the general. This advancement “nullifies” the capabilities of current and future interceptors, he assessed.
The Sarmat is believed to be able to carry up to 10 heavy warheads with multiple re-entry capability. It is also reportedly compatible with the Avangard hypersonic glider, a type of warhead that can approach targets in the atmosphere at high speed while retaining maneuverability to dodge ABM systems. The Russian military said Sarmat’s range allows it to be fired from Russia at targets in the US via the South Pole, fully avoiding the American ABM site in Alaska.
In August, the Defense Ministry signed a contract with the Makeev Missile Center for the production of an undisclosed number of Sarmat weapon systems.