Russia’s Sarmat ICBM Hit by New Delays; Deployment Date Uncertain

Sarmat ICBM.

Sarmat ICBM.

Russia has again said it will soon publicly reveal its new and much delayed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) — the silo-launched RS-28 Sarmat (NATO reporting name, Satan-2) — despite reporting critical delays in production of key components of this heavy ICBM.

These delays forced the cancellation of flight tests originally planned for the first three months of 2017. Russian experts claim Russian industry is now prepared to series-produce these components, which means full-scale flight tests can be staged.

The new delays means it will be impossible to produce the Sarmat before 2018, the year Russia claimed the ICBM will begin deployment with the Strategic Missile Troops or Strategic Rocket Forces of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for Sarmat.

Russia did, however, reveal the first photos of Satan-2 in October 2016 following a successful first stage test in August.


In late 2016, Russia optimistically announced an initial deployment of Sarmat by 2018, two years ahead of schedule despite reports to the contrary from western sources. Western military analysts, however, said the more realistic deployment date is 2020 considering production of the missile is confirmed as behind schedule.

Russia places great faith in the Sarmat and has gone on a non-stop propaganda binge to convince the world no country on Earth, the U.S. included, has defenses that can shoot down this heavy ICBM in flight.

“Not a single enemy anti-missile system, whether existing or prospective, will be able to intercept the Sarmat: The missile will not care whether there is such a system or not,” boasted retired Lt. Gen. Viktor Yesin, former commander of the Strategic Missile Troops.

He claims Sarmat will have a hypersonic speed of over Mach 5 or Mach 6 (6,000 km/h to 7,400 km/h) and will be constantly changing altitude in flight to avoid being intercepted by any anti-missile system.

Sarmat will supersede its 25-year-old predecessor, the RS-20V Voyevoda, the world’s heaviest ICBM which weighs 211 tons and carries a payload of 8.8 tons. Sarmat will have a total weight of 100 tons and the payload weight of 10 tons.

Sarmat will also have a longer range compared to Voyevoda: 17,000 km for Sarmat as against 10,000 km for Voyevoda.

As for payload, Sarmat will carry at least 15 Multiple Independently-targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs), each with a yield of between 150 and 300 kilotons.

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