Russia had conducted a first test launch of its Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, a new addition to its nuclear arsenal which President Vladimir Putin said would give Moscow’s enemies something to think about. The Sarmat has been under development for years and so its test-launch is not a surprise for the West, but it comes at a moment of extreme geopolitical tension due to Russia’s eight-week-old war in Ukraine. The new complex has the highest tactical and technical characteristics and is capable of overcoming all modern means of anti-missile defence. It has no analogues in the world and won’t have for a long time to come.
This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure Russia’s security from external threats and provide food for thought for those who, in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country.” The Sarmat is a new heavy Intercontinental Ballistic Missile which Russia is expected to deploy with 10 or more warheads on each missile, according to the US Congressional Research Service. The Sarmat super heavy intercontinental ballistic missile is designed to elude anti-missile defence systems with a short initial boost phase, giving enemy surveillance systems a tiny window to track. Weighing more than 200 tonnes and able to transport multiple warheads, Putin says the missile can hit any target on Earth.
Sarmat is the most powerful missile with the longest range of destruction of targets in the world, which will significantly increase the combat power of our country’s strategic nuclear forces. A senior fellow for military aerospace at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the launch was an important milestone after years of delays caused by funding issues and design challenges. He said more tests would be needed before Russia could actually deploy it in place of ageing SS-18 and SS-19 missiles. Sarmat’s ability to carry 10 or more warheads and decoys, and Russia’s option of firing it over either of the Earth’s poles, posed a challenge to ground and satellite-based radar and tracking systems. Editor in chief of Russia’s National Defence magazine, told RIA news agency it was a signal to the West that Moscow was capable of meting out “crushing retribution that will put an end to the history of any country that has encroached on the security of Russia and its people”. Ukraine has mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions to try to force Russia to withdraw forces Moscow says are on a special operation to degrade its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and root out people it calls dangerous nationalists.
The RS-28 Sarmat (NATO name Satan-II) is reported to be able to carry ten or more warheads and decoys and has the capability of firing over either of the earth’s poles with a range of 11,000 to 18,000 km. It is expected to pose a significant challenge to the ground-and-satellite-based radar tracking systems of the western powers, particularly the USA. The world is entering in a new arm race and it will badly effect the state to state relations.
Research Associate, Pakistan House