MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. The Russian Strategic Missile Forces will carry out the first launch of the Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk military cosmodrome, the force Commander Colonel General Sergey Karakayev told reporters on Wednesday in the run-up to Strategic Missile Forces Day.
"The testing of the newest missile systems is now conducted at the Kapustin Yar range [Astrakhan region] and at the Plesetsk cosmodrome [northwest Russia]. However, we plan to use the Plesetsk cosmodrome for testing the Sarmat missile system," Karakayev said.
"The northern spaceport is extensively used for various trials linked with the Yars missile system," the commander said. The launches are carried out from Plesetsk and the Dombarovsky launch base (Orenburg region) on Kura range targets, as well as from Kapustin Yar range on Balkhash range, he added.
Previously, a defense industry source told TASS that the Sarmat prototype was ready, and its drop and flight development tests at Plesetsk will be carried out in spring-summer 2016. The prototype was made several months behind schedule, however, the new missile is planned to enter service on the original schedule - in late 2018.
The RS-28 Sarmat is the newest heavy liquid-propelled intercontinental ballistic missile currently being developed for the Russian military. It is to replace the old Soviet R-36M missiles, dubbed ‘Satan’ by NATO, as the heavy silo-based component of the Russian nuclear deterrence. It has been in development since 2009 and is scheduled to start replacing the old ICBM’s in 2018.
The beginning of Sarmat’s drop tests depends on the time of the reconfiguration of the silo at the Plesetsk site, which will be used for testing. The conversion is to be completed by March 2016, and the first drop test of the missile is planned or the same month, the source said. According to him, if the tests are successful, there will be no more drop tests. "The beginning of the Sarmat ICBM flight tests should be expected in July-August 2016," the source said, adding that under the usual procedure, the time interval between the two types of tests is three to four months.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said previously that the mass of the Sarmat ICBM warhead is 10 tonnes, and the missile is capable of destroying targets flying across both the North and South Pole. The Sarmat ICBM that is to replace the Voyevoda, will be created in several versions, Borisov said.
The Sarmat heavy ICBM was co-developed by NPO Mashinostroyeniya in Reutov (Moscow Region) and the Makeyev State Missile Centre in Miass. According to the developers, the advanced Sarmat will weigh within 100 tonnes. According to Yuri Borisov, its range will exceed 11,000 km.
The cutting-edge missile is designed as a successor to the world’s largest and most formidable ballistic missile, the RS-20V Voyevoda, weighing 210 tonnes and carrying 10 individually targeted warheads 750 kilotons each.