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2022-03-15 09:46:47 Weapons
Rogozin announces missile with unlimited range in Russian arsenal

The Sarmat missile system has a number of characteristics not previously seen in any intercontinental ballistic missile.

Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roskosmos, said during a televised speech that: "This year we will add another Sarmat intercontinental ballistic complex to our arsenals of strategic nuclear forces, which will give us guarantees of a safe life for 35-40 years ahead in the same way that the Voyevoda complex gave us."

"Roskosmos - more precisely, one of its divisions, the Makeyev State Research and Production Center - is the developer and manufacturer of the Sarmat complex (as well as a number of other intercontinental ballistic missiles). It is on its actions that the work on this system depends on its completion on time.

Consequently, the new data means that the complex and its combat equipment are highly ready. This is very important for the strategic balance of the world, since the Sarmat is the only type of fifth-generation ICBM that is close to being operationally deployed.

It differs sharply in capability from its predecessor, the Voyevoda (R-36). First, the Sarmat has new rocket engines. Like the Voyevoda, they run on heptyl (fuel, C2H8N2) and diazo tetraoxide (oxidizer, N2O4). However, the new engines (the name after the modification is PC-99) are more powerful, so they can accelerate the rocket to the necessary speeds in a shorter period of time. This dramatically reduces the length of the trajectory when it can be shot down after takeoff, meaning that the risk of intercepting the new missile is reduced.

Another distinguishing feature: It is a missile that is capable of hitting its targets on a wider range of trajectories. Its range against targets on our planet is not limited, and open sources suggest that it will be able to reach its targets from the South Pole. Western countries have no deployed missile defence systems from the South Pole.

A third important feature of the Sarmat is that it can be equipped with Avangard warheads that maneuver actively at hypersonic range (which have previously been tested). By virtue of flying in dense layers of the atmosphere, they move in a plasma cloud. While this created noticeable difficulties for the developers, the warheads themselves are very difficult to shoot down on such a trajectory.

Existing missile defence systems cannot do that. If equipped with such blocks, the missile would be able to carry three of them (again the figure according to open sources, sometimes higher ones are mentioned). If equipped with conventional thermo-nuclear warheads, without the capabilities of active maneuvering, one missile could have 10-15 of them.

In order to increase the stability of the missile silos for the Sarmats, they are planned to be equipped with the Mozyr active defence system. This is a package of many barrels that fire a cloud of fairly specific (specially developed for this purpose) munitions at a point above the missile silo, where the enemy's thermonuclear warhead will fall. Upon encountering such a shield, the enemy warhead is mechanically destroyed before it comes within range of the missile silo to detonate.

An ordinary aerial thermonuclear explosion cannot disable a missile silo (it is exceptionally robust). A "contact", ground detonation is needed, but with the Mozyr, it is not feasible.

For all the pluses of the Sarmat, there are also some ambiguous sides. It is claimed that its Vanguard warheads can exist in a non-nuclear version. This is logical, since at high surface impact speeds, the warhead will produce an explosion comparable to that which a similar weight of TNT would produce. Because of the Avangard's unlimited range, it could strike almost anywhere in the world within about half an hour.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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