Progress of the Sarmat project
Loading a TPK with an experimental Sarmat missile into a launcher
In the interests of the strategic missile forces, the development of the promising Sarmat missile system with an intercontinental ballistic missile of the same name is underway. To date, the industry has completed the design of the missile and other means of the complex, and has also begun their production and deployment in places of deployment. In addition, they recently announced the start of combat duty.
According to known data, the Sarmat complex with the 15A28 missile has been developed since the XNUMXs by the State Missile Center named after. V.P. Makeeva (Miass) from the Roscosmos state corporation. In the mid-XNUMXs, the project reached the stage of manufacturing and testing both individual units and prototypes of ICBMs as a whole.
So, in 2017-18. At the Plesetsk test site, they conducted a series of throw tests of rocket models to check the launch processes and the operation of some of the units. Probably, based on the results of these activities, the project was adjusted and improved. In addition, preparations for full flight design tests have begun.
The first full launch of the new ICBM as part of flight development tests took place on April 20, 2022. “Sarmat” successfully took off from the Plesetsk test site and hit a conditional target at the Kura test site in Kamchatka. In the near future, flight tests were expected to continue to fully test the design before launching production and adoption.
A few months after this, on August 16, the Ministry of Defense and the GRC signed a contract for the production and supply of a new type of ICBM. The number of Sarmats ordered, their cost and delivery time to the customer, for obvious reasons, were not disclosed.
At the end of November another curious news. Management of the State Research Center named after. Makeev announced the start of serial production of a promising rocket. According to earlier information, the assembly of Sarmatov was to be mastered by the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant (also part of Roscosmos). Preparations for acceptance of the first serial products were carried out in the Strategic Missile Forces formations serving in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Orenburg Region.
On combat duty
Since the first information about the Sarmat project appeared, possible dates for placing the new missile system on combat duty have been regularly reported. For various reasons, the expected date has shifted repeatedly, mostly to the right. Nevertheless, work on the project continued and allowed us to count on the rapid achievement of our goals.
On February 23, 2023, the current plans for “Sarmat” were personally revealed by the President of Russia. According to Vladimir Putin, the missile system will have to go on combat duty before the end of this year. More exact dates were not given at that time.
First test launch, April 2022
On September 1, as part of the educational marathon from the Knowledge Society, the General Director of Roscosmos, Yuri Borisov, made a report. He spoke about current and future developments, incl. about a new ICBM for the Strategic Missile Forces. According to Yu. Borisov, the Sarmat complex has already been put on combat duty. At the same time, the head of the state corporation dispensed with any technical and organizational details.
It is curious that during the same marathon other data was disclosed. Thus, according to the official presentation from Roscosmos, the new complex will go on combat duty only next year, 2024. It is unclear what is causing this discrepancy in information from official sources. Perhaps there was a simple mistake at one level or another.
Thus, work on the Sarmat complex is successfully moving forward and solving the assigned tasks. At the same time, despite regular messages of one kind or another, some questions remain. Probably, answers to them will appear later - when the relevant events take place, and when it will be possible to openly comment on these topics.
First of all, the progress of flight tests attracts attention. A few years ago, specially prepared Sarmat products passed throw tests and showed the correct operation of systems and units at the start. Full flight development tests began in April last year. The first launch took place with an intercontinental flight.
New launches have not yet been carried out, but it is already reported that the complex has been placed on combat duty. It is unlikely that the flight test program could be reduced to several throw-away launches and one full flight. New starts should be expected. At the same time, it is not clear why the complex was reportedly already put on duty.
It can be assumed that there was some confusion in recent messages from Roscosmos. However, we cannot exclude the introduction of new development and testing methods that can dramatically reduce their duration and the number of required practical activities. You also need to remember such concepts as experimental combat duty, experimental military operation, etc.
With great potential
All details of current work and activities on the Sarmat complex, for obvious reasons, are unknown. However, their result and significance both for the Strategic Missile Forces and for national security as a whole are clear. Already at the development stage, the promising complex and its rocket began to receive high marks. As work continues, the situation becomes clearer and new details are announced, which make it possible to more fully evaluate the new missile system.
According to known data, the goal of the Sarmat project is to create a new strategic missile system with a heavy ICBM. In the future, it will have to replace the existing R-36M2 Voevoda products, which are approaching the end of their service life. In order to simplify deployment and operation, the new Sarmatians will be delivered to the formations that currently use the Voevoda.
The main component of the Sarmat complex is the heavy ICBM 15A28. This product is at least 35 m long with a launch weight of more than 200 tons. Throwing weight is up to 8-10 tons or more. Like previous domestic heavy ICBMs, the new Sarmat is equipped with liquid rocket engines at all stages. A significant increase in the characteristics of propulsion systems has been reported, due to which flight performance is improved.
The use of different variants of combat equipment is envisaged. The ICBM will be able to carry both individually targeted warheads of a traditional design, as well as maneuvering warheads or Avangard hypersonic glide units. The delivery range of warheads was stated to be global. It is likely that the exact values of this parameter depend on the class and type of warhead used.
The heavy ICBM 15A28 can only be operated with silo launchers. The product leaves the factory in a transport and launch container, and is placed in the mine in it. According to known data, the launcher is being modified to operate as part of the Sarmat complex, but its nature and technical details have not been reported.
The new Sarmat missile system compares favorably with the existing Voevoda for a number of reasons. First of all, its novelty is important - rockets and other means of new production can be operated and maintained over the next few decades. In addition, modern technologies and components have made it possible to create a missile with higher tactical and technical characteristics and fundamentally new combat capabilities.
The other day, the State Research Center named after. V.P. Makeeva published an interesting review about his project. As TASS writes, “Sarmat” was called a unique development of the Center and its related companies, superior to all similar products in the world. The epithets “engineering miracle” and “crown of rocket technology” have been applied to the new ICBM. In essence, we are talking about the formation of a new direction of missile weapons, significantly superior to those of past decades.
Waiting for the results
Thus, the Russian defense industry continues work on the new Sarmat missile system and is approaching its successful completion. The design of the missile and the complex as a whole is already ready, the production and deployment of all these products has begun, and now it is announced that they will be put on combat duty. The start of the Sarmatov's full-fledged service is getting closer.
Current work is of great importance for the development of our Strategic Missile Forces and the improvement of the entire system of strategic nuclear deterrence. The Sarmat will become one of their main weapons for the next few decades. For this reason, current work requires quality, not speed. However, even in this mode, GRC and its related partners have almost completed their new project, and issues of putting the complex on duty are already being discussed.
- Ryabov Kirill
- Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
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