RS-28 Sarmat

The RS-28 Sarmat is a liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile currently under development by Russia.

Sarmat at a Glance

Originated from: Russia
Possessed by: Russia
Class: Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)
Alternate names: SS-X-30 Satan II
Basing: Silo-based
Length: 35.3 m
Diameter: 3.0 m
Launch Weight: 208.1 metric tons
Payload: 10,000 kg of MIRV or glide vehicles
Propulsion: Liquid-fueled
Range: 10,000 – 18,000 km
Status: In development
In Service: 2021 (est.)

Development

The Sarmat ICBM’s March 2018 ejection test at Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

Designed to replace Russia’s aging SS-18 Satan ICBM, the RS-28 Sarmat began development some time in the 2000s.1 After awarding production contracts to Makeyev Design Bureau and NPOMash in early 2011, Russia concluded research and development of the Sarmat ICBM on July 21, 2011.2 Russia completed its first prototype of the missile in late 2015.3 In December 2017, Russia conducted its first silo ejection test of the Sarmat, which reportedly revealed technical deficiencies with the launch system.4 Two subsequent silo ejection tests—on March and May 2018—were apparently successful.5 The RS-28 was initially scheduled to enter service in 2018 with 50 missiles on order. After several technical delays, the Sarmat missile is planned to enter service in 2021.6

Description

The Sarmat is a three-stage, liquid-fueled missile with a range of 18,000 km and a launch weight of 208.1 metric tons.7 The missile is 35.3 meters long and 3 meters in diameter.8 Designated a “heavy” ICBM, the Sarmat can carry a 10 ton payload and can load a wide variety of warhead options.9 According to Russian media, Sarmat can reportedly load up to 10 large warheads, 16 smaller ones, a combination of warheads and countermeasures, or hypersonic boost-glide vehicles.10 11

    1. “Key facts about Russia’s advanced Sarmat ICBM system,” TASS, March 1, 2018, https://tass.com/defense/992360
    2. Ibid.; “‘Sarmat’ Development Work,” Makeyev Design Bureau, 2016. Archived, https://web.archive.org/web/20170327181150/http://makeyev.ru/activities/missile-systems/Sarmat/; Pavel Podvig, “New ICBM contract reportedly went to Makeyev Design Bureau,” Russian strategic nuclear forces, May 14, 2011. http://russianforces.org/blog/2011/05/new_icbm_contract_reportedly_w.shtml
    3. Ibid.
    4. Franz-Stefan Gady, “Russia’s Strategic Rocket Force Tests Ejection of Deadly Sarmat Intercontinental Ballistic Missile,” The Diplomat, March 30, 2018, https://thediplomat.com/2018/03/russias-strategic-rocket-force-tests-ejection-of-deadly-sarmat-intercontinental-ballistic-missile/.
    5. Franz-Stefan Gady, “First Serial-Produced RS-28 Sarmat ICBMs to Enter Service in Russia in 2021, The Diplomat, February 3, 2020, https://thediplomat.com/2020/02/first-serial-produced-rs-28-sarmat-icbms-to-enter-service-in-russia-in-2021/.
    6. “First serial-produced Sarmat ICBMs to assume combat duty in Russia in 2021” TASS, February 3, 2020, https://tass.com/defense/1115697.
    7. Ibid.
    8. “The characteristics of the Sarmat ballistic missile became known,” RIA Novosti, June 27, 2019,  https://ria.ru/20190627/1555986458.html.
    9. Alexei Krivoruchko, “Way into the new decade,” Radio-Electronic Technology, No. 1 (2020), p. 7, http://hi-tech.media/122019.html.
    10. “First Image of RS-28 Sarmat, Russia’s Largest Ever ICBM, Unveiled,” Sputnik, October 24, 2016, https://sputniknews.com/military/201610241046655887-sarmat-image-declassified/.
    11. Nuclear Threat Initiative, “Russia Reportedly Approves Production of New Liquid-Fueled ICBM,” October 22, 2016, http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/russia-reportedly-approves-production-new-liquid-fueled-icbm/.”