MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. Russia’s Strategic Missile Force operates about 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles, which makes up over 60% of the Russian nuclear triad’s warheads and carriers, Strategic Missile Force Commander Colonel-General Sergei Karakayev said on Thursday.
“At present, the Strategic Missile Force grouping comprises about 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads of various categories of their capacity,” the commander said.
Russia’s strategic missile system Sarmat will go operational in 2019-2020.
“Alongside the gradual withdrawal of the Voyevoda missile from service the strategic missile system Sarmat will be authorized for service and go operational. The Sarmat is a silo-based liquid propellant heavy missile. The estimated date when it may enter duty is 2019-2020,” Karakayev said, when asked when the Sarmat might take Voyevoda’s place.
Karakayev said the Voyevoda’s reliability parameters after 28 years in service remained stable.
“The decisions made by now will keep the Voyevoda complex till 2022,” he added.
Earlier reports said the Sarmat would be put on duty at the end of 2018.
The Sarmat is a heavy inter-continental ballistic missile carrying a maximum payload of ten tonnes, in contrast to its predecessor’s 8.75-tonne payload. It is expected to replace the R-36M2 missile (Voyevoda), which, according to open sources, was authorized for service in 1988.
The Sarmat’s prototype was already available in the autumn of 2015, but no pop-up tests have been made so far. A source in the defense-industrial complex at the Plesetsk space site was not ready yet, adding that the first tests were due at the end of 2016.