The discussion of the creation of a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile began shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but at that time, due to the difficult economic and political situation in the country, the promising project remained at the level of the first conversations. Subsequently, the topic was raised again at various levels, but only in the middle of the past decade did the discussion turn into the first real actions. The project called “Sarmat” started no later than the first half of 2009 of the year. At that time, the first information about the purpose of the new project appeared. According to representatives of the command of the strategic missile forces, the Sarmat ICB will replace the weapons of the R-36M family, the service life of which is coming to an end.
As it became known in the past 2012 year, the head enterprise for the development of a new ICBM is the State Rocket Center. V.P. Makeeva (GRTs). In addition, the project involves the Reutov NPO Mashinostroeniya and several other specialized organizations. Some sources contain information about the involvement in the work of the Ukrainian Design Bureau "Yuzhnoye", but this information is still an assumption and has not been officially confirmed.
Earlier it was claimed that by the beginning of 2011, the creation of a draft project for a promising missile complex was to be completed. Further supposed to consider it and take appropriate decisions. As it became known later, the draft version of the Sarmat project went through all the necessary procedures shortly after that, in the same 2011 year, the technical requirements for the prospective ICBM were approved. At the same time, the elaboration of the main project components, such as the work plan, economic aspects, etc. As of the second half of last year, a number of works in the framework of the Sarmat project reached the stage of creating mock-ups for some of the onboard electronics of the rocket.
In September 2012, Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Missile Forces, Colonel-General S. Karakayev, spoke about the plans of the Ministry of Defense regarding the creation of new heavy ICBMs. According to him, the promising rocket will have a starting weight of one hundred tons and will appear by the 2018 year. In mid-October, the media reported that the Ministry of Defense reviewed the conceptual design of a promising missile and generally approved it, making some corrections and expressing wishes. Customer's comments will be taken into account when creating a finished project, in accordance with which the construction of mass-produced missiles will begin.
Unfortunately, there is still very little information about the Sarmat ICBM project. In fact, now only the approximate launch weight of the rocket and the planned period for the construction of the first mass ammunition are known. In this regard, more detailed information about the design and characteristics of the rocket over the coming years will be solely evaluative. Nevertheless, taking into account the peculiarities of previous projects of ICBMs and their characteristics, one can make appropriate assumptions about the Sarmat rocket. In addition, over the past years, information has appeared several times that may be relevant to a new project.
Already there is information about the type of the power unit of the ICBM complex "Sarmat" - a new ballistic missile will receive liquid rocket engines. The remaining nuances of the project are currently classified. In this case, there is information about the research work "Argumentation", conducted several years ago, the SRC them. Makeeva and NPO Mashinostroeniya. In the course of this program, the possibilities of creating a promising land-based intercontinental ballistic missile were considered, taking into account available technologies and experience. The overall results of the study were as follows. During the 7-8 years, having spent about 8-8,5 billion rubles, the defense industry of our country is able to develop and start mass production of ICBMs with a range of up to 10 thousand kilometers and with a drop weight of about 4350 kg.
Based on the starting weight of the promising missile, we can draw the appropriate conclusions about the launcher. Most likely, the ICBM complex "Sarmat" will use mine launchers, similar to those used in existing missile systems, including the family R-36M. It is also impossible to exclude the possibility that the launch shafts of the Voyevod and Sarmat missiles will have a high degree of unification. This assumption is supported by the information provided by the portal MilitaryRussia.ru with reference to sources close to the rocket industry. So, back in 2009, it was decided to retool several launchers of the Baikonur test site. There are no details on this conversion.
Perhaps the most interesting issue in the context of creating a new intercontinental ballistic missile is its combat load. The Topol and Topol-M missiles carry monoblock warheads, while the latest Yars delivers several warheads with individual guidance to the targets. Precise data on the payload of Sarmat ICBM, for obvious reasons, are not yet available. At the same time, the use of a split head with blocks of individual guidance looks most likely. As an argument confirming this assumption, we can cite the starting mass of the rocket and the approximate throw-weight (based on information on the topic “Argumentation”). In addition, the Sarmat rocket is intended to replace the Voevoda ICBM, and for a full replacement, it is likely to require the head part of the same class.
It is worth recalling once again that almost all of the above information is estimates and assumptions. Currently, the Sarmat project is in its early stages and because of this, most of the information about it remains closed to the public. In the coming years, such data will rarely appear and in extremely small volumes. Main stream Newsconcerning prospective ICBMs will begin only in 2016-18, i.e. by the promised completion date of the project. By this time, the Voivode R-36M2 missile will be 30 years old and the question of its replacement will be even more acute than now.
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