Russia says it 'may' test its Satan-2 missile before end of year

Russia says it ‘may’ test its ‘unstoppable’ 14-storey high Satan-2 missile before the end of the year – amid suspicions Putin’s Armageddon weapon is nowhere near ready for use

  • Russia’s defence ministry said it ‘may’ test its Satan-2 missile before end of year
  • It comes after Russia boasted the missile would be fully deployed by December
  • But new less-than-definitive statement will add suspicions that missile not ready

Russia today said that it ‘may’ test its 14-storey high Satan-2 intercontinental ballistic missile before the end of the year.

The announcement comes amid suspicions that Putin’s ‘unstoppable’ 15,880mph hypersonic missile is nowhere near ready for use.

‘The flight-design tests of the Sarmat [Satan-2 missile] may continue before the end of this year with a second test launch to be potentially carried out,’ a defence ministry official told state news agency TASS.

The disclosure that it ‘may’ conduct a second test follows earlier boasts that Satan-2 would be fully deployed by the end of the year.

The new less-than-definitive statement will add to suspicions that the hypersonic Armageddon missile is experiencing embarrassing delays.

Russia today said that it ‘may’ test its 14-storey high Satan-2 intercontinental ballistic missile (pictured during test launch on April 20, 2022) before the end of the year

The announcement comes amid suspicions that Putin’s ‘unstoppable’ 15,880mph hypersonic missile is nowhere near ready for use

Its first test was announced to great fanfare as soon as it took place on 20 April, with Putin in touch by video-link.

The silo-based Satan-2 launch was from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

In May, former head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin, seen as a close Putin ally, said almost 50 Satan-2 missiles, which were in ‘mass production’, would soon be on combat duty.

In early June, a major ICBM test was scheduled and locals near the Kura test range were warned to stay clear of the target site in remote Kamchatka.

But this test never happened.

On 25 June, Rogozin signalled: ‘We are absolutely on schedule, we are now preparing for the second flight test of the Sarmat.’

The following month Rogozin was fired for unknown reasons with a promised new job from the Kremlin yet to arrive.

He has been seen recently in the war zone, but has no new role despite reports he would be Putin’s personal representative for newly annexed regions of Ukraine.

Dmitry Rogozin, former head of the Russian Space Agency (right) with Russian president Vladimir Putin (left) and Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko (middle) pictured during a visit to Angara launch pad construction site in Amur region, Russia, on April 12, 2022

His successor at Roscosmos, ex-deputy premier Yury Borisov, in July repeated the claim that the missile is in mass production without evidently reiterating Putin’s goal of Satan-2 being on combat duty by December.

Last month Russia agreed to allow US teams to inspect the missile under international agreements – but only by February 2024.

Defence analysts suspecting hypersonic hyperbole have pointed out that Russia’s earlier R-36M2 Voevoda missile was tested no less than 17 times before it was put on combat duty.

Another missile – RT-2PM Topol – was tested a dozen times before deployment.

‘In this context, the truth of the terms bandied about by Rogozin — that Sarmat is in [serial] production and is soon to be placed on ‘combat duty’ — appear dubious,’ defence expert Leonid Nersisyan has said.

‘It is far likelier that Sarmat will undergo the same testing, prototyping and experimentation programme as its predecessors,’ he wrote in Shephard Media.

‘Actual acceptance of the ICBM into service with the Strategic Missile Forces looks impossible before the end of 2022 and is hardly achievable by 2024.’

In early July, Rogozin visited the Krasmash defence factory in Krasnoyarsk, in eastern Siberia, which he labelled the ‘Doomsday Plant’ , to inspect the process of producing Satan-2 for flight tests.

The missile was rolled out into a forest for the cameras – and sabre-rattling Rogozin said: ‘The world’s most powerful global-range nuclear-tipped missile is being prepared for new tests.’

Back in April, after the first launch, Rogozin vowed there would be ‘a few more tests to prove the system’s compliance with the technical parameters set by the chief client – the Defence Ministry’.

He later highlighted a 26ft deep crater made at the Kura test site by the missile without a nuclear warhead.

‘With a nuclear charge, such a crater at an enemy site will be…well, very large and very deep – and radioactive.

‘And not just one, but exactly as many as the most powerful nuclear missile in the world will deliver to the territory of a fierce enemy.

‘And we will soon have almost 50 such Sarmats [the missile is known in the West as Satan-2] on combat duty.

‘It remains only to advise the aggressors to talk more politely with Russia.’

Yet the official boasting over Sarmat has visibly ceased except on propaganda state TV shows where threats are regularly made to target it – or high speed underwater drone Poseidon – at the West.

News agency RIA FAN reported today that it ‘assumed’ an expected second test would be from Plesetsk to Kamchatka, like the first in April.

It comes as senior Russian military leaders last month discussed when and how they would use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, according to US officials.

They did not talk about using the weapons with Russian president Vladimir Putin – but the conversations have heightened concern about the prospect of a nuclear Armageddon.

It comes after Putin joked about the prospect of a nuclear war earlier this month.

The Kremlin leader was asked to reassure an audience at the Valdai Discussion Club think-tank that the world is not on the verge of nuclear annihilation – and chose to respond with a long pause.

When host Fyodor Lukyanov pointed out his silence was ‘alarming’, a smirking Putin responded: ‘I did that on purpose so you would be on your guard. The effect has been achieved.’

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