The Russian Strategic Missile Forces are celebrating their 60th anniversary with new work aimed at increasing combat effectiveness and maintaining combat potential. In this context, the project of a promising complex with the RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental missile is of particular importance. Now preparations are underway for a new stage of testing, and in a few years the finished model will go into service.
According to the commander-in-chief …
Recently the Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Missile Forces, Colonel-General Sergei Karakaev, announced the latest information about the state and prospects of the Sarmat project. An interview with him was published on December 16 in Krasnaya Zvezda.
According to S. Karakaev, preparations are underway for state flight tests of the new rocket. In addition, leading military universities are already studying the characteristics, design and capabilities of the new complex.
The Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant will become the head enterprise in the serial production of "Sarmatov". Now the modernization of the production base is being carried out on it, due to which new tasks will be solved in the future.
The commander-in-chief again confirmed that the 62nd Uzhurskaya Red Banner Missile Division (Krasnoyarsk Territory) will be the first to receive new weapons. According to previous reports, they are now preparing to receive promising missiles.
The new generation Sarmat complex is intended to replace the older R-36M2 Voevoda systems. As serial production progresses, modern missiles will replace existing products on duty. The Strategic Missile Forces extend the service life of the R-36M2 missiles, for which purpose in the SRC im. Makeev, the corresponding development work is underway. The GRC project will make it possible to keep Voevod on duty until a modern replacement appears.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Missile Forces recalled the characteristic advantages of the new Sarmat missile. In terms of its main characteristics, it should not be inferior to the previous model, and in other respects it should surpass it. A wider range of combat equipment is also provided, from a number of existing warheads to promising hypersonic systems.
The supply of Sarmat missiles will have to affect the general state of the Strategic Missile Forces' weapons. So, in 2024, the share of modern samples is planned to be increased to 100%. Old Soviet-made complexes will be completely decommissioned, and only newer missiles will remain in service, incl. "Sarmat".
Plans for the future
According to known data, by now the technical design of the Sarmat complex has been completed. A full cycle of throw tests was carried out last year. After that, preparations began for flight tests, which continue to this day. The timing of the first full-fledged launch has not yet been specified.
Last year, the Strategic Missile Forces command indicated that the first serial Sarmatians would be deployed by the 62nd Missile Division. Now it continues to operate the aging R-36M2 missiles, but is already preparing to receive modern RS-28s. The command plans to put the first "Sarmat" on duty in 2021. Then, in a few years, all the "Voevods" of the compound will be decommissioned and replaced.
Earlier, open sources mentioned the future rearmament of the 13th Orenburg Red Banner Missile Division. Like the 62nd Missile Division, it is now armed with R-36M2 systems that need replacement. Arming with new complexes is expected in the early twenties.
Within a few years, probably by the second half of the twenties, two missile divisions will finally abandon the well-deserved but outdated Voevoda ICBMs. They will be replaced by modern RS-28s with higher characteristics, capable of providing the Strategic Missile Forces with a number of new capabilities.
However, before starting serial production and putting it on duty, it is necessary to conduct flight tests and fine-tune the equipment. This will take some time, but so far there is no reason for a major revision of the work schedule. Apparently, the 62nd Missile Division will indeed receive the Sarmatians in 2021.
The Russian Defense Ministry has not yet announced its plans for the number of Sarmats required. This led to the emergence of various forecasts and estimates. In addition, information is known allegedly from foreign intelligence.
So, in July, the American channel CNBC, with reference to the US intelligence community, spoke about the plans of the Strategic Missile Forces to receive at least 60 new ICBMs. At the same time, it was argued that "Sarmat" would be able to be brought to combat duty already in 2020 - by the dates previously mentioned by officials.
The information from American intelligence has not yet been officially confirmed, but it looks quite plausible. This is the number of missiles needed to replace the existing R-36M2 in two divisions in a 1: 1 ratio, and also, possibly, to create a small stockpile.
According to open data, about three dozen silo-based ICBMs can be deployed in the 13th and 62nd missile divisions. Thus, the use of existing facilities will make it possible to replace almost 60 old Voevods with the same number of new Sarmats. In addition, a certain number of missiles must go into arsenals to create a reserve for the future. However, the assessments of foreign intelligence may differ from the real plans of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces.
At the moment, the development of Russian strategic nuclear forces, incl. The Strategic Missile Forces is carried out subject to the limitations of the Treaty on the Reduction of Offensive Arms (START III). This document will be in force until February 2021 - unless Russia and the United States extend it or work out a new agreement. Further developments in the sphere of strategic nuclear forces directly depend on the decisions of Moscow and Washington.
START III imposes restrictions on the number of carriers of nuclear weapons (general and deployed), as well as on the number of warheads. The formation of strategic nuclear forces is carried out within the specified framework. Taking advantage of this, countries are constantly shaping and changing the configuration of their forces. The absence of SVN-III restrictions will enable them to build up their arsenals uncontrollably.
It is also necessary to remember about third countries that are not part of the existing Russian-American agreements, but have nuclear weapons. They also have to be considered a potential threat that should be considered when planning.
If START III is not prolonged or replaced, the first stage of the deployment of the RS-28 ICBM will take a very difficult period. Our country will have to closely monitor the former partners in the treaty and respond to their actions. One of the responses to the growth of foreign strategic nuclear forces may be an increase in the number of their own missiles on duty.
According to known data, "Sarmat", being a heavy-class missile, should show high performance. The declared "global" range for the delivery of warheads. The warhead can carry at least a dozen warheads of individual guidance. Also, the RS-28 will be the carrier of the Avangard hypersonic strike apparatus. All this makes "Sarmat" a convenient and flexible tool for deterring a potential enemy - both for the Strategic Missile Forces and within the framework of all strategic nuclear forces.
If the treaty on offensive weapons is preserved, the Sarmat will be entrusted with the task of updating the materiel, incl. with the growth of combat capabilities. In this context, all the special capabilities of the rocket will also be more than useful.
Waiting for new items
It is obvious that in a few years our Strategic Missile Forces will receive completely new weapons with special capabilities that can significantly affect defense capabilities. However, to obtain such results, it is necessary to carry out a lot of important work. While the main item on the agenda remains the state flight tests of the rocket. Only after that it will be possible to transfer the "Sarmat" to the troops and put them on alert.
The process of developing and fine-tuning a new missile system is taking place against the backdrop of a deteriorating international situation, a break in agreements and certain risks. All this requires improving the strategic nuclear forces and the Strategic Missile Forces in response to new challenges. One of the main answers of this kind will be the expected one hundred percent renewal of the strategic missile forces' armaments, and its most important component is the new "Sarmat".