Russia to Start Testing Its New Nuclear-Capable Missile in 2020, Deploy It in 2021 – Report

© Sputnik / Russian Defence Ministry  / Go to the photo bankLaunch of the Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk launch site
Launch of the Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk launch site - Sputnik International
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It's expected to replace the aging Soviet R-36M2 missile (NATO reporting name – Satan), which was considered at time to be a top-of-the-line intercontinental missile capable of carrying up to 10 MIRV warheads.

The Russian Defence Ministry will be conducting the first test launches of the brand-new RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental missile (NATO reporting name: SS-X-30) at the beginning of 2020 from a silo at the "Plesetsk" launch site, Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper reported, citing two anonymous sources. The military is reportedly planning to conduct at least five tests.

If these are successful, the new missile systems will be delivered to the Russian Armed Forces starting in 2021, the newspaper pointed out, citing sources. The Defence Ministry hasn't commented on the report.

Newest Russian ICBM

The new missile, first announced by President Vladimir Putin on 1 March 2018, is being developed as a replacement for the aging R-36M2 missile (NATO reporting name – Satan), developed back in the USSR. Unlike its predecessor, which is capable of carrying up to 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) – several warheads carried by a single missile, the Sarmat will be able to deliver between 10 and 24 MIRVs.

The launch of the Sarmat superheavy thermonuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk launch site in the Arkhangelsk Region - Sputnik International
Technical Characteristics of Russian Sarmat ICBM Disclosed for 1st Time at Army-2019 Forum

The RS-28 is also expected to replace the R-36M2 missile as a carrier for the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles (HGV), which are capable of carrying either conventional or nuclear payloads. The warhead was developed with the aim of penetrating even the most sophisticated enemy air-defences, making use of its high speed and ability to manoeuvre mid-flight – resulting in its trajectory hard to predict.

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