Russia Activates Advanced 'Satan II' Missile System

Russia Activates Advanced 'Satan II' Missile System

MOSCOW - Russia has officially commissioned its state-of-the-art RS-28 Sarmat Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), colloquially dubbed as the “Satan II”. This announcement was made public on September 2, 2023, by Yury Borisov, the head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

The Sarmat, with its impressive range of approximately 18,000 kilometres, stands as a potent symbol of Russia's military prowess. The missile, designed to replace the Soviet-era Voevoda ICBMs—known by NATO as SS-18 "Satan"—is hailed by Moscow as the "world's deadliest missile".

This latest move by Russia to place the Sarmat on 'combat duty' was interpreted by many experts as a strong geopolitical statement. The decision comes in the wake of President Vladimir Putin's comments that the missile system would make potential adversaries reconsider their strategies and threats towards Russia.

Roscosmos chief Borisov confirmed that the "Sarmat strategic system has assumed combat alert posture," though he did not divulge the exact deployment location or date.

The Sarmat missile is an underground, silo-based weapon that, according to Russian officials, can carry up to 15 nuclear warheads. Contrarily, the U.S. military estimates its warhead capacity to be around 10. One of its significant features is its short initial launch phase, making it challenging for surveillance systems to detect its liftoff promptly.

With a weight exceeding 200 tonnes, the Sarmat was developed as an upgrade to Russia's older ICBMs from the 1980s. It underwent a test launch in April 2022 from the Plesetsk region, which is roughly 800km north of Moscow. The missiles from this test successfully hit designated targets in Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula, located in the far east.

The U.S. administration, when questioned about the recent Sarmat activation, conveyed uncertainty. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby mentioned he couldn't confirm the reports of Russia putting the missile on combat readiness.

This advancement in Russia’s military arsenal, particularly after the nation's move in Ukraine in 2022, serves as a crucial point of concern and discussion in international military and political circles.