Russia is to test the world’s biggest intercontinental ballistic missile by flying it over the South Pole, a report published by the country’s state news agency which was allegedly partially censored has claimed.
The Kremlin will reportedly put on combat duty in December the first regiment with the Satan-2 intercontinental ballistic missile – known in Russia as Sarmat.
Vladimir Putin appears set to flex his muscle and intimidate the West with his nuclear armament, despite the fact tests on the 208-ton intercontinental nuclear weapon haven’t yet been completed.
Russian state news agency Tass reported that “even a truncated LCI [flight development tests], and assuming all launches are successful, would require several more launches, including via the South Pole”.
The allegation regarding the South Pole was quickly removed from Tass’ website but remains in cached versions, it has been claimed.
The Tass article, dated November 19, still reports a source described as close to the Russian Defence Ministry.
Speaking about the Satan-2’s future, they claimed: “The first Sarmat regiment, consisting of a command post and several silo launchers will go on combat duty as part of the Uzhur missile formation of the Strategic Missile Forces in December of this year.”
A second Tass source claimed that the regiment set to adopt the nuclear weapon is “currently on experimental combat duty” when it comes to the formation it is set to adopt.
According to existing practice in the Strategic Missile Forces, Tass explained, “a command post of a missile regiment and two silos are first placed on combat duty, then the number of installations is increased to the full complement”.
The flight tests for Satan-2 – a 15,880mph doomsday missile system as tall as a 14-storey tower block – are currently being carried out from the Plesetsk spaceport at the Kura training ground in the Kamchatka peninsula, far eastern Russia, according to Tass.
Russia is known to have confirmed only one successful test of Satan-2 so far, in April 2022.
On September 1, Russian state news outlets reported the head of the country’s state space corporation Roscosmos, Yury Borisov, claiming Satan-2 missiles had been put on combat duty.
The following month, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu inspected JSC Krasmash, which produces the Sarmat system. Reports from the event contradicted Mr Borisov, as they said the missiles would be put on combat duty “in the near future”.
This missile is to replace the Voevoda – or Satan-1 – missile, which has been in service since 1980s.
Satan-2 was first announced by the Russian president in March 2018 alongside other threatening nuclear-capable arms.