Russia said today it “may” test its 14-story Satan-2 intercontinental ballistic missile before the end of the year.
The announcement comes amid suspicions that Putin’s “unstoppable” 15,880 mph hypersonic missile is far from ready for use.
‘The flight design tests of the Sarmat [Satan-2 missile] may go ahead with a possible second test launch before the end of this year,” a Defense Ministry official told state news agency TASS.
The revelation that it is “possibly” conducting a second test follows previous bragging that Satan-2 would be fully deployed by the end of the year.
The new less-than-definitive explanation will add to suspicions that the hypersonic Armageddon missile is experiencing embarrassing delays.
Russia today said it “may” test its 14-story Satan-2 intercontinental ballistic missile (pictured during the test launch on April 20, 2022) before the end of the year.
The announcement comes amid suspicions Putin’s ‘unstoppable’ 15,880 mph hypersonic missile is far from ready for use
The first test was announced with much fanfare as soon as it took place on April 20, with Putin via 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 ally of Putin, said nearly 50 Satan-2 missiles, which were in “mass production,” would soon be in combat service.
A major ICBM test was scheduled for early June and locals near the Kura test range were warned to stay clear of the target site in remote Kamchatka.
But this test never materialized.
On June 25, Rogozin signaled: ‘We are completely 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 new Kremlin job promised to come.
He has recently been seen in the war zone but has no new role despite reports that he would be Putin’s personal representative for the 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 (center) pictured visiting the construction site of the Angara launch pad in the Amur region, Russia, on April 12, 2022
His successor in Roscosmos, ex-Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, reiterated in July the claim that the missile is in mass production, without repeating Putin’s clear goal of having Satan-2 in combat service by December.
Last month, Russia agreed to allow US teams to inspect the missile under international agreements — but only by February 2024.
Defense analysts suspecting hypersonic hyperbole have pointed out that Russia’s earlier R-36M2 Voevoda missile was tested no less than 17 times before being put into combat service.
Another missile – RT-2PM Topol – was tested a dozen times before deployment.
‘In this context, the truth of the terms that Rogozin talks about – that Sarmat in [serial] production and will soon be placed in ‘combat service’ – seems dubious,” said defense expert Leonid Nersisyan.
“It is much more likely that Sarmat will undergo the same testing, prototyping and experimentation program as its predecessors,” he wrote in Shephard Media.
“Actual acceptance of the ICBM into service with the Strategic Missile Forces seems impossible before the end of 2022 and is hardly feasible in 2024.”
In early July, Rogozin visited the Krasmash Defense Plant in Krasnoyarsk, eastern Siberia, which he called the “Doomsday Plant,” to inspect Satan-2’s flight-test manufacturing process.
The missile was rolled out in a forest in front of the cameras – and the saber-rattling Rogozin said: “The world’s most powerful nuclear missile with a global range is being prepared for new tests.”
In April, after the initial launch, Rogozin promised that there would be “a few more tests to prove that the system meets the technical parameters set by its main customer – the Ministry of Defence.”
He later highlighted a 26-foot-deep crater made at the Kura test site by the missile without a warhead.
“With a nuclear payload, such a crater in an enemy location will be… well, very large and very deep – and radioactive.
And not just one, but exactly as many as the world’s most powerful nuclear missile will deliver to a fierce enemy’s territory.
‘And we will soon have nearly 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.”
But official bragging rights about Sarmat have visibly ceased, except on propaganda TV shows where regular threats are made to target it — or the high-speed underwater drone Poseidon — in the West.
RIA FAN news agency reported today that it “assumed” an expected second test from Plesetsk to Kamchatka would be like the first in April.
It comes as senior Russian military leaders were discussing when and how they would use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine last month, according to US officials.
They did not discuss the use of the weapons with Russian President Vladimir Putin – but the talks have heightened concerns about the prospect of a nuclear Armageddon.
It comes after Putin joked earlier this month about the prospect of nuclear war.
The Kremlin leader was asked to reassure an audience of the think tank Valdai Discussion Club that the world is not on the brink of nuclear destruction – and chose to respond with a long pause.
When host Fyodor Lukyanov pointed out that his silence was “alarming,” a grinning Putin replied, “I did that on purpose so you’d be wary. The effect has been achieved.’