It was previously reported that the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant — the manufacturer of the sea-based ICBMs — is ready to start mass production of super-heavy thermonuclear armed Sarmat missiles (NATO codename name: SS-X-30 Satan 2).
Sarmat missiles are due to enter into service in 2018 replacing the powerful RS-20V Voyevoda ballistic systems (NATO reporting name SS-18 Mod.3 Satan) which have been the backbone of Russia's strategic nuclear forces for more than 25 years.
The new missile will be twice as light as the Voyevoda and will surpass it in terms of energy efficiency. Sarmat's improved performance will equip it with additional means to overcome the US missile defense system.
Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Leonkov expressed his confidence that the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant will hit its deadline and Sarmat will enter service on schedule.
Leonkov highlighted the particular interest of the US and European mainstream media towards the Russian missile, which was dubbed the "devil in disguise", "Satan" and "weapons of nuclear hell."
The military expert emphasized that Sarmat will serve as a reliable deterrent.
"Let them call it what they want. The [Sarmat] missile system which is about to enter into service is a fifth generation system. Its characteristics are so impressive that our opponents have reason to be afraid of it. According to some estimates, the missile's striking range is up to 18,000 kilometers [11,184.6 miles]. It also has a large number of divided parts, from 10 to 15 warheads, each with a capacity of up to 750 kilotons. They will fly to their target at hypersonic speeds performing maneuvers so that the existing American missile defense system would be incapable of intercepting them," Leonkov said.
"Yes, the US is investing heavily in their armament, but they still have problems with hypersonic speeds. Therefore, for the near future, for 10-15 years we have outperformed them — that's for sure. In addition, we are full throttle developing a railway version of the ballistic missile. Therefore, a retaliatory strike, in the event of aggression, can be made from anywhere in Russia; that would be a complete surprise for the American missile defense system," Leonkov told Radio Sputnik.
The media outlet reported that the missile will be equipped with a MIRV (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle) combinations of a dozen heavy warheads, each individually steerable during reentry.
It was also reported that Sarmat warheads will have an array of advanced antimissile countermeasures meant to penetrate the US missile defense shield. There were also speculations that the Sarmat missile would have a conventional hypersonic version like the US's Advanced Hypersonic Weapon or the Chinese WU-14 and could be used as a precision intercontinental weapon in a non-nuclear conflict.