Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Russia’s new nuclear missile ‘Sarmat’


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Sarmat Missile

Mains level: ICBMs

Amidst stiff resistance from Ukraine in the ongoing war and harsh sanctions imposed by the West, Russia went ahead and tested its new Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Sarmat.

What is Sarmat?

  • The RS-28 Sarmat (NATO name Satan-II) is reported to be able to carry ten or more warheads and decoys
  • It has the capability of firing over either of the earth’s poles with a range of 11,000 to 18,000 km.
  • 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 ten warheads are Multiple Independently-Targetable Re-entry Vehicles and each has a blast yield of .75 MT.
  • The Sarmat will also be the first Russian missile which can carry smaller hypersonic boost-glide vehicles. These are manoeuvrable and hard to intercept.
  • It is a liquid-fuelled missile as compared to US ICBMs which have moved on to solid fuel systems.

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 medieval period.
  • Sarmatians were highly developed in horsemanship and warfare.
  • It goes on to say that the administrative capabilities and political expertise of Sarmatians contributed to their gaining widespread influence and by the 5th century BC.
  • They held control of the land between the Urals and the Don River.
  • 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.

Was Russia known to be developing this missile?

  • It was widely known that Russia was developing a new ICBM to replace its older ones.
  • An announcement in this regard was made by Vladimir Putin in 2018 while making his State of the Nation address to the Federal Assembly.
  • He had stated at the time that the first Regiment fully armed with Sarmat ICBM will be operational by the end of 2022.
  • The deteriorating relations between Russia and the Western Powers is said to have given an impetus to its development.


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