Russia, here is the Sarmat missile: a new weapon against Ukraine?

Russia, here is the Sarmat missile: a new weapon against Ukraine?

Russia is preparing to use a new weapon, the Sarmat intercontinental missile. The Defense Ministry announced that the missile will be deployed for combat operations “in the near future” and will likely “make its debut” in the ongoing war with Ukraine.

The ministry said the company is currently conducting the first mass production of the missiles, which will be deployed for combat operations in the near future. Russian President Vladimir Putin had already anticipated the deployment of Sarmat missiles in his speech to the Valdai Club on October 5. At this time, no more precise dates have been provided.

Putin added that tests of the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile have been completed, but bureaucratic procedures should now end.

How does the Sarmat missile work?

Sarmats are capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheadsAs the space agency Roscosmos announced in the past. The new Sarmat Rs-28 (Satan 2, in NATO parlance) intercontinental ballistic missiles were tested in February 2023 during the visit of US President Joe Biden to Kiev. The silo-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system is capable of being armed with multiple nuclear warheads. It will replace the R-36M2 Voyevoda, which has been deployed since 1988.

Kinjal hypersonic missile, Iskander type

In the war that has been going on for more than 18 months, Russia has used the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (Dagger) twin-turbo hypersonic ballistic missile (Dagger) several times. The Kinzhal (designed like the Iskander, but to be loaded onto an aircraft) is a system that can be armed with conventional and nuclear warheads (hence the adjective dual), capable of penetrating anti-missile defenses (which Ukraine does not have). This makes its use in the context of this war exclusively illustrative.

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Putin had called it an “ideal weapon” when he spoke about it publicly for the first time in March 2018. It is part of a new group of hypersonic systems developed in Russia (in addition to the Avangard intercontinental missile and the Tskinkal cruise missile).

Kinjal has a range of 2,000 km, if launched from a MiG (3,000 Tu-22M3), its speed can reach Mach 10 (12,000 km/h), and follows an unpredictable trajectory. “Its role in non-nuclear deterrence is in the early stages of escalation. However, it is primarily intended as a nuclear weapon,” a Center for Strategic and International Studies article said.

Russia tests an unstoppable missile

In recent weeks, Russia has published news regarding tests of a new missile, Burevestnik. It is a nuclear-powered carrier, which, thanks to the use of a miniature nuclear reactor, should have unlimited ability to operate and fly, according to Russian media reports. It is difficult to assess the reliability of information in an operation that suffered a serious setback in 2019, with an accident at a test in the Akangelsk region with the release of radioactive materials.

According to news filtered by Russia, the length of the missile when launched is 12 meters, and after the scheduled separation of one stage, its length is reduced to 9 meters, and its wingspan reaches 6 meters. The missile could be equipped with a nuclear warhead, and this feature, combined with the described “unlimited” flight capability would make the Burevestnik a very fearsome weapon in theory.

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