RS-28 Sarmat: Russia’s Advanced ICBM—An In-depth Analysis

An exhaustive analysis of Russia’s RS-28 Sarmat ICBM, exploring its developmental history, technical specifications, and strategic implications in the context of global security.

RS-28 Sarmat: Russia’s Advanced ICBM—An In-depth Analysis
RS-28 Sarmat - Test 


The RS-28 Sarmat, colloquially known in the West as Satan 2, is Russia’s latest silo-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Developed as the successor to the Soviet-era R-36M (Western reporting name SS-18 or Satan), the RS-28 Sarmat comes with advanced capabilities that position it as one of the world’s most formidable ICBMs. This report aims to delve into its intricate specifications, historical development, and geopolitical implications.

RS-28 Sarmat Test

Historical Context and Development

The RS-28 Sarmat started as a project in the 2000s with the objective to phase out the older SS-18 Satan ICBM. Two Russian organizations, Makeyev Design Bureau and NPOMash, received production contracts in early 2011. The research and development phase concluded on July 21, 2011. Despite some setbacks, including a failed silo ejection test in 2017, the RS-28 successfully underwent additional tests in 2018. Initially, the missile was slated to be in service by 2018. However, due to various technical delays, it is now expected to be operational in 2021.

Technical Specifications:

RS-28 Sarmat Specifications

• Originated From: Russia
• Possessed By: Russia
• Class: Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM)
• Alternate Name: SS-X-30 Satan II
• Basing: Silo-based
• Length: 35.3 meters
• Diameter: 3.0 meters
• Launch Weight: 208,100 kg
• Payload: 10,000 kg or MIRV or glide vehicles
• Warhead: Nuclear, MIRV or glide vehicles
• Propulsion: Three-stage, liquid-fueled
• Range: 10,000-18,000 km
• Status: In development
• In Service: 2021 (estimated)

Evolving from Soviet Roots

The RS-28 is not an entirely new concept but rather an evolutionary successor to the Soviet R-36M, more commonly known by its NATO reporting name, the SS-18 Satan. With geopolitical shifts, such as the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and subsequent tensions with Ukraine—a key contributor to the R-36M—the need for a domestically produced, next-gen ICBM became increasingly evident.

Advanced Capabilities

The Sarmat employs the same engines as its predecessor but features upgraded electronics, guidance systems, and countermeasures. It also has the flexibility to deploy a variety of warheads and penetration aids, making it a versatile threat.

RS-28 Sarmat Test

Warhead Options

The RS-28 can carry multiple types of warheads, including Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles, marking a first for Russian missiles. These warheads are nearly impossible to intercept due to their advanced maneuverability.

Versatile Trajectory

The RS-28 can employ multiple trajectories, traversing either the North or South Pole, thereby adding a layer of unpredictability in its strike capabilities.

RS-28 Sarmat Test

Strategic Implications

The RS-28 Sarmat, once operational, will be one of the most potent ICBMs globally, outclassing its Western counterparts in terms of range and payload. With its myriad of flight trajectories and improved countermeasures, the Sarmat poses a serious challenge to existing missile defense systems.

Defense Systems

The launch sites for this ICBM are expected to be fitted with the Mozyr active protection system to thwart incoming threats, adding another layer to its defensive capabilities.


The RS-28 Sarmat promises to be a formidable addition to Russia’s strategic capabilities. It is not just an evolution but a significant leap forward from its predecessor, the R-36M, making it one of the most advanced ICBMs in the world.