MOSCOW ($1=60.65 Russian Rubles) — The R-36M2 is a nuclear-powered intercontinental ballistic missile. Its NATO designation is SS-18 Mod 5 Satan. This missile is the successor to the Soviet R-36 missile designed in the early 1960s. To this day, the various modifications of the R-36 are in service with the Russian army.
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The SS-18 Mod 5 is characterized by an extremely dangerous weapon. A nuclear warhead, but not one, but 14 nuclear warheads in every single R-36M2 missile. This is considered one of the world’s heaviest ICBM payloads. For the first time in history, one can see the inside of the missile right where the missile rail carrying the 14 nuclear warheads is located.
The photos are not from today but from the middle of the year. Russian arms blogger-analyst Mr. Dmitry Kornev recently published them on social media. The footage was taken as stop-motion footage from the Russian online media and television station TV Zvezda.
The bus itself in the missile is called a “multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle,” or MIRV. It can be seen that the actual 14 nuclear warheads are deployed in two rows of seven nuclear warheads. Russian analyst Kornev, however, believes that this missile does not carry 14 nuclear warheads, but only ten. According to Kornev, the remaining 4 free slots are filled with decoys or other types of components. According to Kornev, these four “lures” are intended to deceive the opponent.
To confirm these claims, Kornev posted a close-up photo of “several objects” from the front of the rail, claiming that these might have been the decoys. But it is also possible that they are models, says Kornev.
The SS-18 Mod 5 is the subject of much speculation. Especially in the area of the explosive power of the rocket. According to some, the missile could deliver a nuclear yield within a kiloton. Others claim that 550-650 megatons are the yield strength of nuclear warheads.
Also visible are the four engines at the rear of the rocket. With that many engines, the SS-18 Mod 5 takes off into space, at which point it releases the nuclear warheads or decoys.
Kornev, meanwhile, said the protrusion on the Russian missile is a system component for separating the nose cone from the rest of the payload bus to release the warheads and decoys.
It remains questionable why exactly now the Russian military decided to reveal details about the missile. It is known that this rocket needs to be replaced. When this will happen is difficult to predict. The missile that will replace the R-36M2 in the next decade is the RS-28 Sarmat, also known as the SS-X-30 Satan 2.
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