RS-28 ‘Satan-2’ ICBMs deployed: Putin warns of imminent combat use

In a recent address to the nation, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin revealed the deployment and imminent operational use of RS-28 Sarmat [Satan-2] heavy intercontinental ballistic missiles within the troops. Although Putin kept his statements vague about the targets or operational points this missile could be used against, the prevailing political climate hints at Ukraine, foreshadowing the potential engagement of Western, NATO-associated, troops. 

Russia says 46 'gifts to NATO' RS-28 Sarmat ICBMs to be built
Photo credit: Russian MoD

Delving further into Putin’s remarks, he disclosed the delivery of the first batch of Sarmat heavy ballistic missiles to the troops. Somewhat cryptically, he added, “We will soon demonstrate them in the areas where we are on combat duty.” These comments arrived hot on the heels of French President Emmanuel Macron’s equally ambiguous comments. Macron hinted that there is a possibility of mobilizing troops in Ukraine to assist Kyiv. 

Speculation and intrigue have further been stirred over the past 24 hours by numerous videos surfacing online that showcase heavy nuclear ICBMs’ movements across Russia. Undeniably, the hot topic of online discourse suggests that the missile installations might be in preparation for the Military Parade on May 9th.

Production has started

As reported in the early days of October the previous year, the Russian Leader announced the ongoing mass production of the RS-28 Sarmat. He stated that this action signifies the successful conclusion of the missile’s developmental phase since it has passed its final state tests. Moreover, they were in the process of completing various administrative and bureaucratic procedures. 

However, rumors suggest that the deployment of the RS-28 Sarmat by Russia could be more than just a standard military procedure. It is widely considered a “show of power” targeted at the West, particularly in response to remarks from France. Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko announced just a few days ago that the Sata-2 has already been deployed. His assertion was that the primary objective of these intercontinental ballistic missile deployments in 2024 is to significantly strengthen the Russian armed forces’ capabilities.

The tests from 2017 to today

At the Plesetsk Cosmodrome – a spaceport nestled in the city of Mirny, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia – the initial examinations of our rocket took place. The first event of note was the ejection test of the RS-28 Sarmat, which happened in December 2017. This exercise aimed to scrutinize the handling of the missile before launch, and carefully examine its lift-off procedures. 

Russia says 46 'gifts to NATO' RS-28 Sarmat ICBMs to be built
Photo credit;

Let’s clarify something here: in an ejection test, we’re not participating in a full-scale launch. Instead, this involves an “ejection” of the rocket from its silo using a gas generator, mimicking the initial stage of a genuine launch. 

After a successful ejection test, the RS-28 Sarmat took to the skies for its first full flight in March 2018. The missile hit its target with precision, demonstrating its operational prowess, and marking a significant milestone in its progress. 

Further assessments of the RS-28 Sarmat took place at the same venue – the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. These ongoing evaluations confirmed the performance parameters of the rocket and reaffirmed its capabilities to carry out the tasks for which it was designed.

10 tons of nuclear warheads

Let’s discuss the RS-28 Sarmat, an intimidating entity on the global stage, often referred to as “Satan 2”. This is a powerful liquid-fueled, super-heavy intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM] teeming with thermonuclear weaponry. It’s a significant part of Russia’s quest for nuclear modernization and is slated to replace the aging R-36M2 “Voevoda”, also known by NATO as the SS-18 “Satan”. 

When it comes to the specifications of the RS-28, prepare to be amazed. It tips the scales at an estimated 208.1 tons and measures an impressive 35.3 meters in length. With a respectable diameter of around 3 meters, the missile is propelled by a potent liquid fuel engine. This engine is responsible for its impressive speed and range capabilities. Additionally, with a payload capacity of 10 tons, it has adequate space to accommodate multiple independently guided aerial vehicles [MIRVs]. 

Let’s delve a little deeper into its operational range, which is approximately an astounding 18,000 kilometers. In simpler terms, it has the potential to reach any target worldwide. This exceptional coverage is attributed to its remarkable speed and the sub-orbital flight path it follows.

One missile – dozens of targets at the same time

Here’s how the RS-28 Sarmat operates – it’s launched skyward from a missile silo, powered by the ignition of its liquid-fueled engine. Once it reaches a specific altitude, the engine’s task is complete and the missile continues its trajectory, following a ballistic path in the air. The next phase involves the deployment of the warheads, which are stored within the missile’s payload compartment. 

These warheads, surprisingly, each have their individual flight paths leading to their separate targets. Yes, this means that each warhead could potentially hit a different target, enabling the missile to strike multiple locations. The extent of the damage is influenced by the power of the warhead deployed and the height of the explosion relative to the ground. 

Let’s consider the catastrophic consequences of the warheads reaching their assigned targets. Each RS-28 Sarmat is rumored to carry up to 10-15 MIRVs, with each warhead having the threat of unleashing up to 750 kilotons of destructive force. For perspective, this is several times more potent than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. The aftermath would result in extensive destruction and the region would be riddled with harmful radiation.


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