MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Russian Defense Ministry is planning to conduct two drop tests of the heavy liquid-fueled RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (referred to by NATO as SS-X-30 Satan 2) at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome before the end of 2017, local media reported Monday, citing sources close to the ministry. The missile is capable of carrying 10-15 warheads and flying at supersonic speed.
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According to the Russian Kommersant newspaper, the tests have been postponed several times, since the launching silo and the missile itself were not finished. The problems have now been solved and if the first test is successful, the second one will be also conducted this year, the media outlet added.
The Sarmat ICBM, which has an operational range of up to 18,000 kilometers (11,185 miles), is part of a government large-scale rearmament program, announced in 2010 aimed at modernizing the country's nuclear forces by 2020. The modernization will cost Russia approximately 20 trillion rubles ($348 billion).
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On October 18, Russian Maj. Gen. Oleg Kislov announced the testing of a silo-based ballistic missile. This report follows the statement made by Russian Strategic Missile Forces Col. Gen. Sergey Karakayev last December, saying about Moscow's plans to develop the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile and put it into service by 2019-2020.