Translated by Ollie Richardson
Developmental work on the project of advanced missile system of strategic purpose “Sarmat” has entered the main phase. Such a conclusion can be drawn by assessing the first images published on the official website of the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau of the future intercontinental missiles. At the heart of its design scheme is a tried and tested composite multistage longitudinal structure. It is known that the system will be based in missile base installations with the Uzhur Missile Division and in the Dombarovsky launching area.
According to estimates of the developers — doctor of technical sciences, Professor Vladimir Degtyar (general designer) and chief designer of “Sarmat”, doctor of technical Sciences Yuri Kaverin, the new missile system will provide guaranteed and efficient implementation of the tasks of nuclear deterrence.
From “standard” to a “non-standard” response
The TV channel “Zvezda” has already spoken about this perspective weapon. Its characteristics, even without being fully expanded, are impressive. It is known, in particular, that the “Sarmat” system will replace one of the most powerful Soviet Intercontinental ballistic missiles “Voevoda”. The updated ICBM can carry bigger warhead weight, and also receive increased rates of range. In addition (and this is perhaps basic), the more advanced electronic “package” of “Sarmat” will provide the control and guidance of missiles without looking back at the antimissile defense systems. The updated separable warhead will work on the same task. According to some experts, Russia’s ICBMs simply “won’t notice” the means of missile defence of the enemy.
First deputy director of central operations at the Russian General Staff General-Lieutenant Viktor Poznikhir said not so long ago that Russia is taking “adequate response measures” to the expansion of the US multi-layered missile defense system. Speaking at the 7th Xiangshan Forum, he drew attention to the American side’s plans to deploy “Standard-3” land and sea-based interceptor missiles with the ability to intercept Russian and Chinese ICBMs at the initial part of the flight trajectory.
“And this is a direct threat to the nuclear potential of Russia and China, whose ballistic missiles will be surprised until the moment of separation of the warheads from the main stages,” said General Poznikhir at the time.
As was stressed by the representative of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, in total by 2020 the US will have about 700 “Standard-3” interceptor missiles. The purpose of the actions of the American side is obvious: a reduction in the potential of the strategic nuclear forces of Russia and China — a “reset” of its nuclear missile potential. However, as was stated at the same time by Lieutenant-General Viktor Poznikhir, the calculation of the States on the implementation of their concept of “instant global strike” is nothing more than an illusion. For counteraction of these steps “the adequate response measures” are also being taken, the representative of Russian Defense Ministry unambiguously noted at the time.
Guarantor of security and sovereignty
Russian military expert, Reserve Major General Sergey Kanchukov called the development of the ICBM “Sarmat” system “definite and long overdue”. At the same time, commenting on the image of the missile, he said it has some similarities with the dimensions of ICBMs of the previous class (“Voevode”), as well as some design solutions.
Overall, according to General Kanchukov, in the program of rearmament until 2020 the highest priority is given to modernisation of the strategic nuclear forces (SNF) of Russia.
“Quantitative and qualitative indicators of the strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation and SOF (strategic offensive forces) are approximately equal to the United States, however, we must remember that in the event of a large-scale conflict both countries are threatened by mutual destruction,” stressed Sergey Kanchukov.
And here the expert is skeptical about the widely publicized American missile defense system.
“It (missile defence), may be effective against North Korea, Iran, and China, but not against us,” assured the General.
Sergey Kanchukov considers the arrival of new missiles to the scheme of the Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces to be logical.
“Indeed, part of the missiles became obsolete and they needed to be replaced,” he noted. “The UR-100N monoblock and RT-2PM “Topol” are replaced by the new RT-2PM2 “Topol-M” and RS-24 “Yars”. However, the same situation is observed in our “unbelievable allies”. The service life of “Minuteman” was extended to 2030, but the development of the new SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) will start only from 2025 in parallel with the development of the new SSBNs (ballistic missile strategic purpose submarines) to replace “Ohio”. Also, by 2030-2035 years, the U.S. plans to create a new heavy bomber and new ALCM (air-launched cruise missile)”.
In short, according to the expert, a further reduction of strategic nuclear forces is inappropriate.
“The United States will continue to actively promote the idea to further reduce nuclear arsenals in both countries, but it is important to understand that all of these steps are an attempt to implement an “adjustment” of quantitative and qualitative parameters of the strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation under real combat capabilities of SNF and missile defence,” the General noted. “Strategic nuclear forces are the guarantor of the sovereignty of our country. And perhaps they, at the time, prevented us from repeating the trajectory of Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya.”
Horror at the speed of 7 thousand km per hour
Meanwhile, concerning our not yet adopted missile, the alarm is already sounding abroad. For example, the influential Spanish newspaper El Confidencial (Spain, as is known, is a part of NATO) not long ago issued a publication where special attention was paid to the potential of new Russian weapons. Among the obvious advantages of the “Sarmat”, its speed characteristics (up to 7 thousand kilometers per hour) and unconditional guarantee of hitting targets on U.S. soil was mentioned. In addition, journalists paid attention to the fact that the engine power and lightweight construction of the “Sarmat” allow the missile to attack not in the shortest, but in any direction, including through the South and North pole. As was highlighted in the publication, it is made for the purpose of bypassing the means of missile defence of the U.S.
“Sarmat” can be equipped with maneuvering warheads that can change trajectory at hypersonic speeds, as well as advanced navigation systems and off-line control, which will allow nuclear warheads to detect and overcome a missile defense system during the flight,” it is said in the article of El Confidencial. “In this case, they will become an unbeatable weapon that can be launched from fortified launch areas, to fly to the US from an unexpected angle and incapacitate their missile defence systems. Taking into account the fact that each missile will have a monstrous destructive power (10 to 15 nuclear self-homing heads), it, of course, will have a deterrent effect. If its predecessor, “Voevode” inspired fear, “Sarmat” will horrify”.
And here the Chinese partners of Russia, it seems, do not hide their satisfaction about the future of adopting such sophisticated weapons. So, according to the expert Command of the military institute of missile forces of China Chu Fuhai, which he said in an interview with Chinese website The Paper, a key priority of “Sarmat” is that the new system of inertial control of the Russian ICBM and targeting with dual correction of trajectory (navigation by the stars and artificial satellites) guarantees the accuracy of the blow.
“It is possible to simultaneously attack from different directions, to complicate the task of the enemy defenses,” notes Chu Fuhai.
According to the commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces of Russia, Colonel-General Sergei Karakayev, the State armament programme provides for the implementation of a balanced set of measures to upgrade the strategic missile forces for modern armaments, to create a scientific and technical reserve in the interests of further development, to ensure combat readiness, nuclear and environmental safety of missile systems.
“Taking into account the already completed upgrade of a number of compounds of the strategic missile forces missile system “Yars”, the proportion of modern systems makes up over 50 percent,” noted the commander.
Thus, as General Karakayev emphasized, performance of the planned works on creation of the latest missile system of stationary basing with the missile of the “heavy” class “Sarmat” became part of the actions realized in this direction also.
It should be noted that the setting in operation of this promising strategic purpose missile system of Russia solves another key challenge. We are talking about the replacement of R-36M “Voevoda” missiles, but not so much because of its ageing, but how more because of the actual refusal of the Ukrainian “Yuzhmash” to perform warranty maintenance of these “products”. According to some, this issue is really up in the air. Therefore, the development and production of new weapons for the strategic missile forces in cooperation with a Russian enterprises, once and for all rids us of any problems in this area.
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