MOSCOW —A new Russian intercontinental ballistic missile is capable of carrying several hypersonic weapons, a senior Russian military officer said Sunday.
Col. Gen. Sergei Karakayev, the commander of the Russian military’s Strategic Missile Forces, said in televised remarks that the new Sarmat ICBM is designed to carry several Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said the Sarmat was test-fired for the first time Wednesday from the Plesetsk launch facility in northern Russia and its practice warheads have successfully reached mock targets on the Kura firing range on the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.
The test launch came amid soaring tensions between Moscow and the West over the Russian military action in Ukraine and underlines the Kremlin’s emphasis on the country’s nuclear forces.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Sarmat launch a significant achievement. He claimed that the new missile had no foreign counterpart and was capable of penetrating any potential missile defense.
“This really unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure Russia’s security from external threats and make those, who in the heat of frantic aggressive rhetoric try to threaten our country, think twice,” Putin said Wednesday.
The Sarmat is a heavy missile that has been under development for several years to replace the Soviet-made Voyevoda, which was code-named Satan by the West and forms the core of Russia’s nuclear deterrent.
The military has said that the Avangard is capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound and making sharp maneuvers on its way to target to dodge the enemy’s missile shield.
In preparation for the Sarmat’s deployment, the hypersonic vehicle was fitted to the Soviet-built ICBMs. The first Avangard-armed unit entered service in December 2019.
Vladimir Degtyar (director and designer-in chief of the Makeyev Missile-maker that created the Sarmat) stated in televised remarks its range allows it fly along any trajectory over the north or southern poles to hit any target all around the world.