There have been ever going reports around the RS-28 Sarmat ICBM since it was announced to come into action during an annual speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin back in 2018 where he played videos that unveiled brand-new nuclear weapons with startling capabilities.
Russia has always been equipped with an inventory of notable and deadly nukes, which has often raised concerns for the United States. However, an unstoppable nuclear-powered global cruise missile announced to have a practically unlimited range was declared to serve the Russian forces by Putin a few years back.
Referred as SS-X-30 Satan 2 by NATO, the so-called "largest missile of the world" began its development in 2009.
Why Should The US Worry?
According to official state reports, the above-cited missile can carry around 10 large warheads, 16 smaller ones, up to 24 YU-74 hypersonic boost-glide vehicles or even a combination of warheads and countermeasures.
This states that a single Satan 2 ICBM can contain around eight megatons of TNT equivalent explosive power, which is comparably 400 times more destructive than the U.S. dropped on Japan in 1945, both of which, combined, led to roughly 150,000 casualties.
One of the significant advantages of the missile that would worry the U.S. is that the Satan 2 can carry several reentry vehicles, including the hypersonic Avangard gliders.
As per reports, the missile possesses sufficient power to wipe out areas of a size similar to that of England and Wales.
Earlier reports also suggest that a technology capable of neutralising a nuclear warhead was demonstrated, a high-tech bullet launched via missile. These bullets can slam into the warhead after targeting it in mid-flight and obliterate the weapon.
Does The US Have What It Takes?
As per numerous reports wandering on the digital world, the United States is currently in possession of three shorter-range tactical anti-ballistic missile systems, i.e. U.S. Navy Aegis, U.S.Army Patriot and the Israeli Arrow 3.
In layman terms, Anti-Ballistic Missiles (ABM) cannot intercept ICBMs even if within range (although Arrow 3 can in some cases). The rationale behind this is that tactical ABM radar and performance characteristics do not allow it because the speed of incoming warhead ICBM is much faster than a tactical missile warhead.
Talking about anti-missile defences, we cannot leave THAAD behind, but it is to be noted that even this system doesn't promise protection against incoming ICBMs for a sure reason as THAAD was developed mainly to counter theatre ballistic missiles. It can intercept short to medium-range missiles and, at the high-end of its envelope, intermediate-range ballistic missiles, but in any case, it cannot intercept long-range, fast and high-flying ICBMs.
As per one of the reports by the Defense Department's independent testing office, the existing United States missile defences can protect the state against a small number of ICBMs that employ simple countermeasures.
For two decades, against limited long-range missile strikes from states such as Iran and North Korea, the U.S. ballistic missile defence policy has sought to protect the homeland but not major nuclear powers like Russia and China.
All that said, probably some countermeasures designed to trick anti-missile systems have been equipped by Satan 2 along with advanced guidance systems. According to some analysts, this might include a couple dozen lightweight decoys made to look like the warhead, which might result in a kill vehicle targeting the wrong object.
Several state media reports have suggested that the anti-missile countermeasures that the Sarmat would equip shall be meant to penetrate the US ABM shield. This might be aimed at most minuscule for signalling that Moscow can penetrate the American missile defences.
On second thought, nothing much needs to be done, but simply deploying a significant number of warheads could do the job since, based on prior testing, Kill vehicles may not work 50% of the time while they stand as technologies being developed for decades. So the U.S. really needs to spare some time studying its defence systems that could potentially safeguard the state from the Sarmat.