What we know about the launch of the Russian ICBM Sarmat

After the Kangal, the Sarmat. On Wednesday, April 20, the Russian army announced the first successful test launch of its intercontinental ballistic missile “Sarmat”. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, this weapon “It will keep Russia safe from external threats and make those who try to threaten it [le] country”.

A spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry claimed, in a video clip, that the shooting took place from the launch pad in Plesetsk, Arkhangelsk region, northwest Russia, and that the missile reached the Koura Military District in Kamchatka, 5,000 kilometers away. Here’s what we know about shooting and this new generation of long-range weapons.

Fifth generation intercontinental ballistic missile

Analysts call the missile “Sattan 2” and the official name is RS-28 Sarmat. A nickname borrowed from the Sarmatians, a nomadic people who lived in antiquity around the Black Sea, between present-day Russia and Ukraine.

The Sarmat, which weighs more than 200 tons, is supposed to be more efficient than its predecessor, the Voïevoda, which has a range of up to 11,000 km. As soon as the rocket is launched, it rises in the sky, until it exits the atmosphere, at an altitude of more than 100 km. It describes a bell-shaped path, before it backtracks to its target.

One Sarmat missile can carry ten nuclear warheads. “One head can cause damage equivalent to 500 kilotons of TNT.”, confirms Heloise Fayette, a researcher at the Center for Security Studies at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), in an interview with franceinfo. For comparison, the “Little Boy” nuclear bomb dropped by the United States on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945 had a yield of 12 kilotons.

The Sarmat missile is part of the fifth generation missile series, presented as “Invincible“By Vladimir Putin in 2018. A year later, the Kremlin master claimed that Sarmat did not have Practically no limits And he was able to “Aim at targets that cross the North Pole like the South Pole”. According to the Russian leader, the missile is also capable of “Superiority over all modern anti-aircraft systems”.

“All the technical characteristics of this missile are not known yet because it is a program under development.”

Halluc Fayt, researcher in Avri

in franceinfo

A missile designed for nuclear deterrence

“ICBMs have no vocation to be used on the battlefield. Their only benefit is nuclear deterrence.”Héloïse Fayet insists. This strategy consists in preventing the opponent from doing something we do not want them to do, by convincing them that they will suffer as much – or even more – the damage they will inflict on us. The researcher believes that the Sarmat snapshot is mainly used to send a message to the United States.

“The idea is to say: If you attack me militarily, I have the power to retaliate with my missiles. That kind of recruitment and response is very framed by general doctrine.”

Halluc Fayt, researcher in Avri

in franceinfo

The shooting was also planned for a long time by Moscow, and the United States was warned. Furthermore, the Pentagon confirmed that it was a test that did not constitute “Not a threat” the United States or its allies.

However, the article may have special significance in the context of the war in Ukraine. “You remind Russia that it is a nuclear power and it turns out that it has a devastating missile. It’s communications and strategic signals”, hallucinogen analysis. However, the researcher believes that “Even if there was no war in Ukraine, it would have been Russia that carried out this shooting. Because it is a routine process to check one’s abilities“.

Filming within the framework of international treaties

The use of ICBMs is regulated by nuclear treaties. In this specific case, it is the Treaty of New Start, Strategic Nuclear Arms Reduction Agreement signed between Russia and the United States in 2010.

This treaty limits the arsenals of the two nuclear powers to a maximum of 700 ICBMs each. 1,550 warheads and 800 launchers, says US State Department website (link in english). It also includes a series of mutual searches of military sites and a warning in case of trial.

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