Russia is one of the top three countries with the largest nuclear arsenal. However, it has struggled to catch up with America’s latest ICBM technologies during the last decade. But all that is about to change with the nation’s latest addition to its vast arsenal: the state-of-the-art Satan 2 or Sarmat bomb.
Inside sources have claimed that this still-unseen nuclear asset can carry up to 15 large warheads, 16 smaller ones, and a combination of countermeasures or hypersonic boost-glide vehicles that can rain havoc across a region the size of France.
The Russian Federation has repeatedly told the media that there is no effective counter to Sarmat. Still, the U.S. has strangely dismissed the bomb, with many wondering if that will eventually Prove a huge mistake.
A New Threat
In December 2020, American journalist Peter Suciu published an article that read: “To the casual observer, it might appear as if Moscow is preparing for war, as the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Defense announced it will not be scaling back combat training of the Russian military in 2021 and instead will maintain a level of intensity for combat training in the New Year.”
At the time, the world was in the middle of the COVID pandemic, when suspensions and lockdowns were the day’s order.
Still, Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu said the military would conduct more than 4,800 drills by late 2021. During an interview with the Russian Agency TASS, Shoigu also specified that over 2,500 training facilities and more than 30,000 pieces of hardware and equipment had been repaired And adapted adequately for the rigorous training exercises.
Besides the ground activities, General Shoigu also told TASS that there would be more naval drills at the Black, Barents, and Baltic Seas. Then, on February 24, 2022, the Russian Armed Forces invaded Ukraine.
As tensions quickly escalated between NATO and the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin made it clear that any foreign intervention would be seen as a direct threat by Russia, and the country would react accordingly.
One month later, Putin threatened to use his nuclear arsenal against any nation that dared to support his enemies.
Speculations of Satan-2
Although Putin’s threats about his country’s nuclear capabilities were not specific about the type of weaponry he was allegedly willing to use, numerous theories suddenly took hold of social media, with several sources claiming To have access to classified information about the Russian RS-28 Sarmat or Satan 2 intercontinental ballistic missile.
Such sources stated that the liquid-fueled nuclear missile could destroy every breathing being in the world, but many experts quickly rejected the claims. First, military analysts claimed that Satan 2 exists, but it has been in development since the 2000s with no end date in sight.
Second, experts such as Professor Malcolm Chalmers from the Royal United Services Institute, who specializes in British security and defense, told Routers that such claims: “Are sometimes made as a result of wider climate-changing consequences, such as a nuclear winter.
This should not be ruled out but would, at a minimum, require hundreds of warheads, not a single missile.” However, the professor added that Satan 2 should not be taken lightly.
Although the missile makes no significant difference to Russia’s already impressive arsenal, he said that from what little is known about it, the weapon has the capability to destroy areas as large as France or Texas.
This last detail comes from a report published in 2016 by the Russian News Agency Sputnik News that stated that Satan 2 carries over 10 to 15 warheads that can be deployed with pinpoint accuracy over a specific area.
A New Satan
Satan 2, officially RS-28 Sarmat, was named after the nomadic Sarmatian tribes that dwelled in the territories of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, centuries before Christ.
Its development can be traced back to the early 2000s when Russia sought to find a replacement for the aging SS-18 Satan ICBM, which has an impressive range of over 10,000 kilometers.
However, it has a dated missile design, initially introduced in 1970 and modified in 1980. Enter Satan 2, which has a more considerable range of over 18,000 kilometers. The Russian military awarded production contracts to Makeyev Design Bureau and NPOMash in early 2011, who presented the first concept design by July.
The prototype was finished in late 2015, which is when the military officers announced the missile would be completed by 2020. It is also known that in August 2016, Russia successfully tested Sarmat’s first-stage PDU-99 engine.
A year later, the military conducted the first silo ejection of the Sarmat, which had a failure related to the launch system. Still, subsequent tests proved successful during March and May of 2018, but that did not prevent the program from lagging behind the expected delivery schedule.
The Russian Army was supposed to receive over 50 missiles by December 2018, but the delivery of the RS28 ICBMs was pushed to late 2021 or early 2022. During a December 2020 interview with TASS, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said: “At present, defense industry enterprises continue to get ready for state flight trials of the Sarmat ICBM system.
It is scheduled to enter combat duty in 2022.” Shoigu remarked that the Sarmat ICBM would enter service with Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces or RVSN once production lines were modernized to carry out the task.
Pride of a Nation
In a subsequent press release from early 2021, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters that Satan 2 is something unique the United States lacks.
He also added that Satan 2 is over 35.3 meters long, 3 meters in diameter, and has a weight Of over 220 tons. Further specifications included a 10-ton payload, and Sarmat can carry up to 15 large warheads, 16 smaller ones, and a combination of countermeasures or hypersonic boost-glide vehicles.
The Russian military is also working on the Avangard glide vehicle, which is scheduled to debut along with the Satan 2. In December 2021, details began to leak about the concentration of Russian troops near the Ukrainian government.
Colonel General Sergey Karakayev stated that Satan 2 was about to replace the heavy-class silo-based Voevoda missile systems to continue the modernization of Russia’s arsenal.
Then, in April of 2022, President Putin announced during a T.V. address that the first RS-28 Sarmat had been thoroughly tested with great success. He remarked that: “This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure Russia’s security in the face of external threats, and will provide food for thought to those who, in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country.”
Despite Putin’s threats, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby stated that Satan’s 2 test launch was: “Not deemed to be a threat to the United States or its allies. Russia properly notified the United States under its New START treaty obligations that it planned to test this ICBM.
Such testing is routine and was not a surprise.” Additionally, the Pentagon assured the American people should not feel threatened because the Army is fully prepared to counter Russia’s latest missile development.
Still, as the war with Ukraine rages on, Putin and his cabinet have turned more aggressive. In June of 2022, Putin again stated that the first 50 Sarmats would be delivered by the end of the year. Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia’s state space agency, Roscosmos, told the press: “I suggest that aggressors speak to us more politely.”
The threat came on the heels of Finland announcing that it was planning to join NATO. But for the time being, it is a matter of waiting to see if the secret weapon surfaces after the many delays it has had.