Russia deploys advanced Sarmat nuclear missile system on ‘combat duty’


Moscow has officially commissioned an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile system known as the RS-28 Sarmat, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasized will deter potential adversaries.

Yuri Borisov, the head of Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, announced that the Sarmat missiles have now entered “combat duty,” marking a critical milestone in Russia’s military capabilities.

According to reports from Russian news agencies, Yuri Borisov stated, “The Sarmat strategic system has assumed combat alert posture,” underscoring the system’s readiness for action. The RS-28 Sarmat boasts remarkable capabilities, with experts estimating its ability to carry a Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicle (MIRVed) warhead weighing up to 10 tonnes, capable of reaching any location worldwide, including over the North and South Poles.

The White House National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, refrained from confirming these reports about the Sarmat’s combat readiness. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that Putin had previously mentioned in February that the Sarmat, among Russia’s array of advanced weaponry, would soon be deployed.

The Sarmat, an underground silo-based missile system, has garnered attention for its purported capacity to carry up to 15 nuclear warheads, though U.S. military estimates suggest a maximum capacity of 10 warheads. NATO military allies have codenamed it “Satan,” given its formidable capabilities and its rapid initial launch phase, which provides minimal time for surveillance systems to track its takeoff.

Weighing over 200 tonnes and boasting an impressive range of approximately 18,000 kilometers (11,000 miles), the Sarmat represents a significant advancement, designed to replace Russia’s aging generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICMBs) from the 1980s.

A critical milestone in the Sarmat’s development occurred in April 2022 when Russia successfully test-fired the missile in the Plesetsk region, located approximately 800 kilometers (almost 500 miles) north of Moscow. The missiles reportedly hit targets in Russia’s far east region on the Kamchatka peninsula.

This deployment underscores Russia’s commitment to maintaining a potent nuclear deterrent, and the Sarmat’s advanced capabilities have drawn international attention, raising questions about the evolving dynamics of global security.

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