Russia is gearing up to test its newest Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in early 2016. It has developed a prototype of the nuclear-capable missile that will replace the RS-20V Voyevoda (NATO name: Satan). The Sarmat development is part of a government program to equip the country’s nuclear forces with modern ICBMs by 2020. Even though the prototype development has been delayed by a few months, Sarmat is set to enter service in late 2018.
Russia shifts the test location
Sources familiar with the development told TASS news agency that its drop and flight tests will be conducted in spring or summer of 2016. The tests were initially supposed to be conducted from Baikonour in Kazakhstan. However, the Russian military officials have decided to transfer the test site to Plesetsk in Russia’s northwest. It has been in development since 2009.
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The RS-28 Sarmat will use the same silos that currently house the Satan missiles. Since the two missiles have different specifications, the silos need to be reconfigured before the tests can be conducted. Sources told TASS that the first drop test is planned for March 2016. The flight tests are expected to be held in July-August 2016. All the structural elements of the missile were built by Krasnoyarsk Machine Building Plant.
Sarmat can carry 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads
Russian deputy defense minister Yuri Borisov had previously said that the missile was capable of destroying targets flying across both the North and South Pole. Russia plans to develop several versions of Sarmat. According to NPO Mashinostroyeniya, the co-developer of Sarmat, the advanced version of the missile will weigh close to 100 tons. It will be large enough to carry 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads.
According to Yuri Borisov, the new ICBM’s range will be greater than 11,000 km. It is equipped with systems that can confuse enemy missile defense systems. Sarmat is a two-stage missile being developed under a highly classified project. Russia is undergoing a $400 billion military modernization plan. Earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin said Russian military will get at least 40 ICBMs by the end of 2015.