Military

Cold war redux? Russia unveils massive Satan 2 ICBM capable of destroying France or Texas in a single hit

Cold war redux? Russia unveils...
The first image of Russia's RS-28 Sarmat, dubbed the "Satan 2" by NATO - a massive nuclear capable ICBM that can carry enough of a payload to destroy Texas or France in a single hit.
The first image of Russia's RS-28 Sarmat, dubbed the "Satan 2" by NATO - a massive nuclear capable ICBM that can carry enough of a payload to destroy Texas or France in a single hit.
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The first image of Russia's RS-28 Sarmat, dubbed the "Satan 2" by NATO - a massive nuclear capable ICBM that can carry enough of a payload to destroy Texas or France in a single hit.
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The first image of Russia's RS-28 Sarmat, dubbed the "Satan 2" by NATO - a massive nuclear capable ICBM that can carry enough of a payload to destroy Texas or France in a single hit.

Russia has moved to update its nuclear arsenal with an extreme-range, massive payload ICBM designed specifically to defeat anti-missile systems. Capable of traversing the planet's poles and blowing up Texas in one hit, meet the RS-28 Sarmat, or Satan 2.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been very clear about how he sees his country's situation. Circled by NATO forces and "oh no that's just for defending Europe from Iran" nuclear missile silos, he believes Russia's nuclear capabilities are threatened by a belligerent US foreign policy. "How can you not understand," he admonished a group of journalists recently, "that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction?"

"Major global conflicts have been avoided in the past few decades, due to the geostrategic balance of power which used to exist … I don't know how this is all going to end. What I do know is that we will need to defend ourselves and I even know how they will package this as 'Russian aggression' again. But this is simply our response to your actions. Is it not obvious that I must guarantee the safety of our people?"

Just a little sobering background, then, for today's announcement: Russia has released the first photos of its new intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS-28 Sarmat, which has some truly extraordinary capabilities that are well worthy of its NATO nickname: Satan 2.

Weighing in at over 100 tons, the RS-28 will be a silo-launchable missile with extreme range capability. It's designed to be able to fly around the North or South poles, to attack targets from unexpected directions, with a maximum range around 10,000 kilometers (6214 miles). It's not slow, either, maxing out at more than Mach 20, or some 15,220 mph (24,500 km/h). That's about seven times faster than the SR-71 Blackbird ever went.

Its payload capacity is an enormous 10 tons, allowing it to carry up to 10 heavy warheads at a time, or massive amounts of missile defense countermeasures to help stop it getting shot down by anti-missile systems. In theory, according to Russia's Sputnik magazine, it could pack enough of a nuclear punch to destroy a land mass the size of Texas, or France, in one hit.

Satan 2 has been specifically designed to penetrate North American missile defense systems, and according to Russian officials it has been developed as a direct response to the USA's Prompt Global Strike system, which gives America the ability to deploy non-nuclear missile strikes anywhere on the planet within one hour.

The RS-28 project has been in the pipeline since contracts between the Russian government and the Makeyev Rocket Design bureau were signed in 2011. Originally expected to debut in 2020, timelines have been moved up to a 2018 deployment, and some sources are saying Russia expects the Satan 2 to constitute nearly all of Russia's land-based nuclear arsenal as soon as 2021.

Many of us are too young to remember what it was like living in the Cold War era, where nuclear tensions between the Soviet Union and the USA were at boiling point and the world seemed to be on the brink of apocalypse.

But behind the bizarro-world dog and pony show of the 2016 US elections there seems to be a very real sense that the world's two largest nuclear superpowers are getting ready to butt heads in a big way over a number of geopolitical hotspots - Syria being the biggest of the bunch.

Here's hoping common sense prevails, and this new era of nuclear brinksmanship ends the way the last one did – with a whimper, not a bang. And certainly not a bang the size of Texas.

Source: Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau (Russian)

33 comments
JoeFrederick
So it has the same range as a Minuteman missile did 50 years ago, and it's 2,000mph SLOWER than the Minuteman at apogee. Guess all those big, fat warheads will make up the difference, though, except that, no matter how many defensive tricks it has up it's sleeve, that missile cannot survive our satellite "ray" weapons (laser and other). Do the Russians think we've simply been sitting on our hands for those 50 years waiting for them to catch up to us? And Putin says he's only responding to our "surrounding Russia" with threatening weapons ... when that situation hasn't changed for 50 years. Putin is a glory seeker, and that is the thing that makes him dangerous.
Captain Danger
With only 10 tones of warheads available I fail to see how it can destroy a land mass the size of Texas. The largest nuclear explosion was the "Tsar" bomb detonated in 1960 by the Russians and it was around 50 megatons and it weighed about 27 tones or 2.7 times the capacity of this missile. While the effects of the bomb could be felt hundreds of miles away it certainly did not destroy everything in that radius. We could always test it on France just to make sure I am right
Brian M
As an offensive weapon with a maximum kill power load , it virtually becomes a suicide weapon as well. You can't destroy the area the size of France without serious consequence for the whole world ( and France is not that far from Russia so bad example!). More likely anticipated use will be with a lot of the payload taken up by defensive weapons, so as to ward off anti missile defences. Nonetheless its not a welcome addition to the world arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Nik
Nice! Just what the world needs, Armageddon now!
marosini
Unfortunately, the world still needs a Leviathan. Thank you Loz for the balanced article. @JoeFrederic, I'm afraid you are missing the point. Here you can find a fair description of the situation. There are no star-wars defences, at the moment, for this kind of stuff. https://www.quora.com/How-prepared-is-US-against-Satan-2-ICBM-of-Russia
Mihai Pruna
expect the X37 program to expand greatly...
oldguy
Seems a pity that we cant use all this brain power to figure out an end to the Syria crisis. Humankind always seems take the long way around every problem, building massive missiles instead of just sitting down at a table and talking. By the way, I dont think destroying France or Texas would help since neither population has much to do with the problems Russia is worrying about.
penrose
RE: "Many of us are too young to remember what it was like living in the Cold War era, where nuclear tensions between the Soviet Union and the USA were at boiling point and the world seemed to be on the brink of apocalypse." Sorry, but this is a PUN (Pure Unadulterated Nonsense). The Cold War was just that: COLD. The problem is that now the Psychopathic Neocons in America have decided they must be allowed to rule the world, whatever it takes, including HOT wars all over the globe and threatening other Nuclear Powers with a preemptive nuclear strike. Compared with that, the Cold War was a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park.
techmanmacho
"In theory, according to Russia's Sputnik magazine, it could pack enough of a nuclear punch to destroy a land mass the size of Texas, or France, in one hit." Oh, so it must be accurate if the Russian press says so...sheesh.
CharlieSeattle
..."destroying France or Texas" The author is thinking small and he ignores this very real Russian threat. WND RUSSIAN STRATEGIST SUGGESTS NUKING YELLOWSTONE Rest of world would see catastrophe, but 'U.S. will cease to exist' Published: 03/31/2015 - BOB UNRUH wnd. com/2015/03/russian-strategist-suggests-nuking-yellowstone/ The suggestion is attributed to Konstantin Sivkov, who wrote in an article at the Russian language VPK News that as “a result, the U.S. will cease to exist.” While the rest of the world, he noted, would suffer a “catastrophe,” Russia likely would suffer little “due to the distance from the eruption site, the size of the territory and the location.” While the stress of such a disaster would affect all of civilization, he wrote, such a weapon “has the possibility” of stopping “all thought of aggression against Russia.”