Russian Sarmat nuclear missiles put into service

Russian Sarmat nuclear missiles put into service

The new land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles with ten to 15 warheads carry the NATO code SS-X-30 Satan II and will replace the previous model SS-18 Satan. There are rumors that they could also station nuclear bombs in Earth’s orbit, which is prohibited.

According to official information, Russia has put into service the new RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile. The head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Yuri Borisov, said this on television on Friday, as Russian agencies reported. President Vladimir Putin had already said in June that the nuclear missile would enter service soon.

The name Sarmat comes from the Sarmatian equestrian people. According to Russian information, the weapon with the NATO designation SS-X-30 Satan II, which is parked in underground missile pits (silos), can carry up to 15 individually controllable nuclear warheads. The US military assumes that there will be up to ten of them, that is, in combination with decoys against missile defense weapons. With a total weight of 208 tons and a length of around 36 meters, the rocket is extremely heavy and has a range of 18 thousand kilometers. It is intended to replace the RS-20 (SS-18 Satan) models from the 1980s.

Fractional orbital bombardment?

There are rumors that it may have Fractional Orbital Bombardment capabilities. Simply put, a warhead is not launched towards the target on a usual high parabolic trajectory with a height typically greater than 1000 kilometers at the apex, but is parked in a low Earth orbit (about less than 150 kilometers); This requires extraordinarily powerful rockets with particularly high speeds. Bombs that circle the earth in this way do not reveal their targets; the attacker can only determine them after a few turns and then suddenly drop the warhead on them; notice period is minimal. The Russians could also send warheads aimed at North America into orbit over the south polar region, and then approach North America from the south – but the North American Norad air defense system does not “look” in that direction.

FOBS was developed by the USSR in the 1960s, but was phased out following the ban on weapons of mass destruction in space by the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and finally the 1979 SALT II Treaty a few years later (1983 ).

Development of the Sarmat by the Makeyev design bureau began in the late 2000s. It was supposed to be built in significant series by several companies around 2015, but things got delayed. In April 2022, the Russian military successfully tested the RS-28. The rocket started in Plesetsk, in northern European Russia, and the dummy warheads hit their targets in the Far East of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Series production will take place in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, in a first batch of probably at least 50 units. (APA/Greber)