Why Russia’s Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile cannot be intercepted?

Russia claims that the RS-28 Sarmat, a nuclear ballistic missile, has a special ability that allows it to penetrate opposing defenses.

Boris Degtyar, chief executive officer of the JSC Makeyev Design Bureau National Missile Centre, claims that the Sarmat ICBM is armed with cutting-edge, highly-maneuverable warheads.

He added that it is extremely challenging to neutralize Sarmat Nuclear Ballistic Missiles through interception. The Sarmat’s guidance system is built to keep the missile flying even if it takes a hit from enemy defenses.

“The Sarmat’s advanced control system has the ability to adjust the trajectory using GLONASS, which helps to ensure the ability to aim with high accuracy, even after being hit by enemy defense systems,” he said.

GLONASS is a Russian global positioning system based on satellites similar to the US GPS.

“The rapid acceleration makes Sarmat able to defeat enemy air defense systems in the active phase,” he said.

Moreover, the enemy cannot precisely calculate the trajectory of the Sarmat Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Warheads, and it is tough for the enemy to detect them because they are fitted with special types of equipment designed to function stealthily when flying even in the atmosphere, according to a Russian official.

Sarmat, according to Degtyar, will “neutralize any NATO development” thanks to its “superior flight performance” and “scientific and technical solutions as well as modern technology used in the manufacturing process of the ICBM and its sub-systems.”

He also said that the Sarmat, another member of Russia’s nuclear triad, is more powerful than its predecessor, the R-36M2 Satan.

Degtyar is confident that once this technology is implemented, it will provide a strong defense for Russia.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has previously claimed, “Sarmat is the world’s most powerful ICBM with the longest range.” The effectiveness of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces will be greatly enhanced.

The RS-28 Sarmat is a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile system fired from a silo and propelled by liquid fuel.

Since the 2000s, scientists have been working on a replacement for the R-36M2 ICBM using this missile. President Vladimir Putin introduced The Sarmat as one of Russia’s six new strategic weapons on March 1, 2018.

On April 20, 2022, the RS-28 Sarmat successfully completed its first test flight; 

A government contract for the production and distribution of the Sarmat strategic missile system was signed on August 16, 2022.

Up to ten heavy or fifteen light MIRV warheads, an undefined number of Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs), or a combination of warheads and numerous countermeasures against anti-ballistic missile systems can fit into the RS-28 Sarmat’s roughly 10-tonne payload.

According to Russia’s Ministry of Defense, this missile is their response to the United States Prompt Global Strike system.

Due to its brief boost phase, Sarmat is difficult to intercept by infrared-equipped satellites like the United States Space-Based Infrared System.

The Fractional Orbital Bombardment (FOBS) capability of the Sarmat has led to speculation that it might fly a trajectory over the South Pole, unhindered by any existing missile defense system.

Supposedly, the “Mozyr” active protection system will be installed at RS-28’s launch sites in order to nullify the first strike advantage of a potential adversary by discharging a cloud of metal arrows or balls capable of kinetically destroying incoming bombs, cruise missiles, and ICBM warheads at altitudes of up to 6 kilometers.