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Daily News Analysis

Sarmat Missiles

24th June, 2023 Defence

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Context: President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia's new generation of Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads, would soon be deployed for combat duty.

Sarmat Missile

  • Sarmat is an intercontinental ballistic missile.
  • They are capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads.
  • It has the capability of firing over either of the earth’s poles with a range of 11,000 to 18,000 km.
  • It will replace the Soviet- era Soviet-era Voyevoda missiles.
  • The missiles would be deployed with a unit in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia, about 3,000 km (1,860 miles) east of Moscow.

History of the launch

  • Russia tested its new Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Sarmat in March 2022.
  • It was tested from Plesetsk in North West Russia with the intended target in the Kamchatka peninsula almost 6,000 km away.
  • The RS-28 Sarmat, also called Satan-II, can carry ten or more warheads and decoys.
  • Sarmat is a liquid-fuelled missile.
  • The ten warheads are Multiple Independently-Targetable Reentry Vehicles.
  • The Sarmat will also be the first Russian missile which can carry smaller hypersonic boost-glide vehicles.

The difference with the R-36M Voyevoda 

  • The height and weight of the Sarmat ICBM is the same as of the older one, it has more speed and high throw weight.
  • These are manoeuvrable and hard to intercept than their older version.
  • The upgraded electronic countermeasures, guidance systems and alternative warhead carrying capacity make the RS-28 Sarmat ICBM more lethal than the R-36M Voyevoda ICBMs (NATO name Satan) currently in service in Russia.

Importance of the missile for Russia

  • Sarmat missile is designed to carry out nuclear strikes on targets thousands of missiles away in the United States or Europe.
  • It is expected to pose a significant challenge to the ground-and-satellite-based radar tracking systems of the Western powers, particularly the USA.
  • The missile’s development paves the path for the development of the nuclear triad, which is a key guarantee of Russia's military security and global stability.

Who is it named after?

  • The Sarmat is named after nomadic tribes that roamed the steppes of present-day Southern Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan in the early mediaeval period.
  • Sarmatians were highly developed in horsemanship and warfare.
  • In the 4th century, they crossed the Don and conquered the Scythians, replacing them as rulers of almost all of southern Russia by the 2nd century.


Putin has repeatedly said since the start of the Ukraine conflict that Russia is ready to use all means, including nuclear weapons, to defend its "territorial integrity". Inclusion of Sarmat nuclear missiles might heighten the tension between the west and Russia.


Consider the following statements about the Sarmat Missiles.

  1. Sarmat is an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads.
  2. The Sarmat is named after nomadic tribes that roamed the steppes of present-day Southern Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
  3. They were developed by Ukraine.

Which of the above  statements are correct?

  1. One only
  2. Two only
  3. Three
  4. None of the above.

Ans: 3