A successful test of a Russian “Sarmat 28” rocket caused a worldwide sensation back in April. Moscow has now announced that it intends to build 50 of the nuclear-capable ICBMs by autumn.
Russia wants to build about 50 new Sarmat-type ICBMs by autumn, as the head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, informed the Interfax agency. The series is now going into series production, which Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced back in 2018 – it is considered the most powerful intercontinental weapon in the world.
18,000 km range: Sarmat missile could pose a threat to the whole world
Even during its development, some experts were concerned. The rocket weighs more than 200 tons and has a payload of almost ten tons. Its range is stated to be almost 18,000 kilometers – a crucial characteristic, because this would mean that it could head for destinations all over the world from Russia. A trajectory over both the North and South Poles would be possible in order to hit targets in the USA, for example. This is probably one of the reasons why their dramatic NATO code name is “SS-X-30 Satan 2”
The Kremlin seems to be particularly proud of another technology: according to reports, the rocket can be transported with a hypersonic glider. This would mean that it does not follow a ballistic trajectory, making it virtually impossible to intercept.
This is exactly what Putin emphasized when he used the successful test of the Sarmat missile as an opportunity to threaten Western countries. The weapon could overcome all types of missile defense and force “those to think who try to threaten our country with hard-nosed, aggressive rhetoric,” he said at the time. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the missile will massively strengthen Russia’s nuclear potential. No previously known missile can reach targets at such a distance as this one, it said during the missile test.
Even during their test phase, the media tried to assess the danger posed by the Sarmat missile. Its payload has been converted by some so that the missile could carry up to 16 nuclear warheads. From a purely mathematical point of view, this seems to be correct, but such a large number of nuclear weapons is unlikely, explained stern military expert Gernot Kramper back in May of this year.
USA were demonstratively relaxed during the test
It is more likely that the launcher would be equipped with dummies or defensive weapons to bypass the enemy’s air defenses.
During the test of the Sarmat missile in April, the US government was demonstratively calm. The Pentagon emphasized that the activities are not seen as a threat to the United States or its allies. However, this could change with the series production of the rocket. The United States also announced some time ago that it would modernize its intercontinental weapons at a cost in the billions, Der Spiegel reports. However, to send a de-escalating signal, the US government postponed a test of its Minuteman III ballistic missile shortly after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Sources: stern, Spiegel, with material from DPA