Starting his story about new strategic weapons, V. Putin recalled the events of recent years. So, at the beginning of the last decade, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty, as a result of which Russia's nuclear potential was under threat. Despite the constant criticism of Moscow, Washington continued to develop anti-missile systems and deploy new complexes. However, Russia not only protested and warned. In recent years, Russian military and scientists have been working on promising weapons. As a result, they managed to make a big step in the development of strategic systems.
V. Putin recalled that in order to counter North American missile defense in Russia, not too expensive but very effective means of breaking through defenses are being created and constantly improved. Such equipment is carried by all Russian intercontinental missiles. In addition, the development of completely new models of high-performance strategic weapons was begun.
According to the president, the Ministry of Defense and enterprises of the rocket and space industry have already begun an active phase of testing the latest complex with ICBM heavy class. Perspective system received the designation "Sarmat". The head of state pointed out that a new product is being created in order to replace the existing R-36M “Voevoda” missiles, created in Soviet times and known for their high combat power.
V. Putin argues that the combat capabilities of the Sarmat are much higher than those of its predecessor. The new ICBM has a launch mass of more than 200 t. A characteristic feature of the rocket is the reduced active portion of the flight, which to some extent makes it difficult to intercept and destroy. In terms of flight range, number of warheads and warhead capacity, the promising Sarmat outperforms the old Voevod.
The flexibility of the missile is provided by the ability to carry warheads of various types. Sarmat will be able to use nuclear warheads of various capacities and modern means of breaking through missile defense. In addition, it will be possible to equip it with a hypersonic warhead, which has certain advantages over units of the traditional appearance.
The P-36M missile has a firing range of up to 11 thousand km. The new complex, as the president noted, has practically no range limits. As part of the Message to the Federal Assembly, a video was shown demonstrating the capabilities of the new complex. Among other things, it showed that the Sarmat rocket is able to get into the Western Hemisphere both through the North Pole and the South Pole. Such opportunities in an obvious way increase the potential of the complex in the context of a missile defense breakthrough of a potential enemy.
The president also noted some features of launchers for a promising rocket. The product "Sarmat" is proposed to be used with protected launchers with high characteristics. The parameters of the means of basing and the energy performance of the missiles, according to V. Putin, will ensure the use of the missile complex in any conditions and in different situations.
The last Message of the President to the Federal Assembly was curiously different from the previous ones. The speech of the head of state was accompanied by a demonstration of videos of a particular subject. Naturally, the videos were also present in the part of the presentation on advanced weapons.
For the first time, politicians and the general public were shown shots from the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile tests. First, in the video demonstrated the process of loading the transport and launch container with a rocket into the mine launcher. Then showed the actual launch. The rocket in the characteristic black and white “chess” color, necessary for monitoring its work, with the help of a powder pressure accumulator flew out of the mine and started the engine. All further flight stages, however, were demonstrated in the form of computer graphics. The drawn rocket went along a predetermined trajectory, dropped warheads and successfully hit its intended targets in the Western Hemisphere.
Having completed his story about the progress of the Sarmat project and the consequences of its adoption, Vladimir Putin turned to other topics from the area of strategic nuclear missile systems. In a matter of minutes, the president unveiled a number of new products that will be discussed for a long time at all levels and are likely to have the most serious impact on the strategic situation in the world. However, we will not hurry and carefully consider the Sarmat project, including taking into account the latest information read out personally by the head of state.
First of all, it must be recalled that the PC-28 “Sarmat” project is already well known to specialists and the general public. The fifth-generation missile system with a heavy intercontinental silo-based missile is intended to replace outdated systems Р-36М and УР-100УТТХ. The project was developed at the State Rocket Center. V.P. Makeeva (Miass) with the participation of some other domestic defense enterprises.
According to reports from past years, in the foreseeable future, strategic missile forces were to receive a promising product with a launch mass of more than 100 t and the possibility of incurring a large combat load. Over time, it became known that "Sarmat" has a three-stage structure and is equipped with a stage of breeding warheads, ensuring their individual guidance. All stages of the rocket must be equipped with a liquid engine, "drowned" in the bottom of the tanks. From a certain time in the context of the PC-28 project, the possibility of using the promising hypersonic 4202 / U-71 hypersonic equipment was mentioned.
According to various estimates, depending on the task, the Sarmat rocket could carry up to 10 warheads and deliver them to a range of at least 16 thousand km. This means that such missiles, located in different parts of the Strategic Missile Forces, will be able to attack targets almost anywhere in the world. At the same time, in some cases, it was possible to choose the flight route that is optimal from the point of view of the missile defense bypass.
It is known that in the middle of the current decade the PC-28 project left the design stage, and the first tests began. So, in the middle of 2016, tests of new rocket engines were completed, after which preparation for the tests of the rocket as a whole was launched. It was reported that flight tests will be conducted at the Plesetsk test site. To perform them, one of the mine launchers of the landfill was repaired and restored. In the past, the press reported some delays, as a result of which the first Sarmat rocket launch was launched only at the end of December last year, with a noticeable delay in relation to the initial plans.
Apparently, it was the video from the December start that became the “illustration” for V. Putin’s speech. According to known data, the Sarmat tests were planned to begin with a throw start, and, apparently, it was shown to the public. Thus, the product with a characteristic color, emitted from the mine, was a mock-up of a full-fledged rocket, having the same mass and similar geometric characteristics. The task of the layout in throwing tests is to exit the launcher, during which a set of sensors captures all the main parameters.
For obvious reasons, the mock test design is not intended for full-fledged full-range flight. In this regard, in the demo video showing the capabilities of the rocket and its principle of operation, after the real launch frames, there was an animated flight with all the main operations. It is also necessary to remind that at the disposal of science and industry there are still no means capable of conducting high-quality video filming of ICBMs on a trajectory from the most spectacular angles. Therefore it is necessary to apply the achievements of modern cinema and animation.
In the past, when the promising PC-28 project was far from being fully implemented, officials talked about the possible adoption of a missile in service in the 2017-18 years. By now, plans have changed in a noticeable way. Flight tests of the rocket are scheduled for the current and next year, and the complex is expected to be put into service no later than 2020 of the year.
Over the next few years, the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant will have to prepare for full-scale serial construction of promising missiles for delivery to the Strategic Missile Forces. In parallel, the bases of this type of troops will be used to repair and upgrade the existing launchers of the Voevod missiles, which, after the upgrade, will have to work with the new Sarmatians. The process of replacing the P-36M missiles with new PC-28 will take several years. In the absence of serious problems, it can be completed by the mid-twenties.
According to known data, the heavy missiles P-36М and P-36М2 remain in service with only two strategic rocket forces, and their total number does not exceed fifty. Several dozen heavy UR-XNUMHUTTHs also continue to serve. This means that the program of rearmament of the rocket forces should not differ in special dimensions, and therefore will not be excessively expensive or long. In any case, no later than 100-2025, the Russian armed forces will have to abandon all the heavy ICBMs that are currently available, due to their complete moral and physical obsolescence.
Based on the already known and recently announced information, it is possible to draw new conclusions about the goals and objectives of the PC-28 Sarmat project. The first and one of the main goals of this complex is to maintain the required combat capability of the strategic missile forces by timely replacing outdated weapons. Moreover, the replacement of old missiles will lead to a serious increase in the combat potential. With enhanced performance, the new rocket will even be able to more effectively solve the tasks assigned to it, even if it is replaced in a one-to-one proportion.
According to reports, the Sarmat ICBM will be able to deliver combat units to a range of at least 15-16 thousand km. This means that “on sight” of the missile complex can be any objects in almost any part of the planet. In the case of less remote areas, it is possible to choose the most convenient trajectory corresponding to the tasks. For example, due to improved energy, a rocket can literally bypass at least the stationary enemy missile defense systems. In combination with the means used breakthrough on the type of false targets, etc. this possibility dramatically reduces the effectiveness of missile defense.
V. Putin confirmed that the promising heavy rocket will be able to carry the newest hypersonic combat unit. Earlier in different sources it was repeatedly mentioned that one of the variants of combat equipment of the PC-28 could be the product "4202" or Yu-71. A guided combat unit of this type is a hypersonic aircraft with controls and the ability to carry a nuclear charge. It was argued that the unit Yu-71 will be able to reach speeds of up to several kilometers per second, maneuver along the course and be independently guided to the specified target.
The high speed of descent and approach to the target, as well as the ability to maneuver along the trajectory, are obvious advantages of the 4202 system. Existing foreign missile defense systems are designed to intercept high-speed ballistic targets. The possibility of hitting a maneuvering hypersonic object, at least, is questionable. For the correct and timely response to such weapon the probable adversary requires fundamentally new systems, the existence of which is not yet known.
To date, the promising heavy ICBM RS-28 "Sarmat" was put to the test, and in the next few years it is planned to adopt it. The emergence of such weapons will not only preserve the required capabilities of the Strategic Missile Forces, but also increase the potential of this kind of troops without a serious change in the number of deployed missiles. Due to this, in particular, it is possible to implement existing plans without contradiction with existing international agreements. In addition, it will be possible to solve one of the main tasks of recent times - to ensure the required combat effectiveness of intercontinental missiles in the conditions of the development and deployment of foreign anti-missile complexes.
News about the PC-28 “Sarmat” project, announced by Vladimir Putin, are undoubtedly a reason for optimism and pride in the Russian defense industry. However, having completed the story about the new ICBM, the president did not stop and announced the existence of even bolder and more interesting projects. Now it was about increasing defense capability at the expense of fundamentally new types of weapons with outstanding technical and combat characteristics.