Russia to Biden: New ballistic missile can breach defenses

Russia’s work on its Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile is “nearing completion,” state media says, with President Vladimir Putin paying close attention to the progress of work.This matters because the Sarmat is expected to build on the experience of the massive 1970s era R-36M2 Voyevoda ICBM.“The RS-28 Sarmat is an advanced silo-based system with a heavy liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile,” TASS media says. “It has been in development since the 2000s to replace the R-36M2 Voyevoda ICBM. It weighs about 200 tonnes and has a throw weight of around 10 tonnes. The Sarmat is capable of breaching any existing and future missile defenses.”Clearly, the Sarmat is a message to the US and Europe, as well as to other countries, about Moscow’s current capabilities. The massive missile has no real application except as a strategic nuclear weapon.Russia is also working on other new weapons, such as an unmanned water vehicle called Poseidon, an air-launched ballistic missile called Kinzhal, and a secret laser weapon called Peresvet. Moscow says these are in service, but it is unclear how operational they are.Russia’s messaging on the Sarmat is designed to coincide with a new US administration coming to power in Washington. It wants to present the US with its new technology, which it has been deploying and developing while President Donald Trump is in office, as a kind of fait accompli.The new Sarmat trials will begin soon and Russia hopes to deploy it by 2022. It is part of a plethora of weapons – from drones to warplanes, as well as air defense and “hypersonic” weapons – that Russia is talking up.

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