Russia’s Strategic Missile Force will deploy a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile no later than 2020.
“We are counting on introducing into the armory by 2018-2020 at the outside a new missile system with specifications not inferior to its predecessor,” Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakaev was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
The new silo-based Sarmat ICBM will replace the world’s most powerful nuclear missile, the twenty-five-year-old R-36M2 (SS-18 Satan).
Sarmat is expected to feature advanced countermeasures to enable it to penetrate missile defenses including a complex command and control system and a high degree of maneuverability, he said.
The new system is just one of a number that will totally replace Soviet-era missiles by 2021, he said.
“New hardware is arriving on time and by 2018 more than 80 percent of Russia’s strategic missile force will be comprised of the latest weapons,” Karakaev said.
By 2018, Russian nuclear forces will be limited to 1,550 warheads and 700 total deployed strategic nuclear delivery systems including long-range missiles and bombers as part of the New START treaty signed with the United States in 2011.
Karakaev called that number “necessary and sufficient” to maintain strategic nuclear parity with the US and other nuclear states.
Commenting on the United States’ nuclear arsenal, Karakaev claimed “their reduction in numbers is compensated for by upgrades of their missiles and the delivery systems of the entire strategic triad, giving them new technological capabilities.”
The new missiles are part of a $700 billion procurement plan for the Russian Armed Forces in the period to 2020.