Russia today claimed that flight tests of its giant Satan-2 hypersonic missile had been “successfully completed”.
However, no new specific details about the launch were given by the commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), Colonel-General Sergey Karakaev, who made the announcement without the typical Kremlin fanfare.
This stands in contrast to April, when reports emerged immediately of the first flight test of President Vladimir Putin’s supposedly “unstoppable” 15,880mph hypersonic beast, known in Moscow as the Sarmat.
The announcement comes amid suspicions the missile is far from ready for use, after other vaunted test launches apparently failed to materialize.
Karakaev said today that “flight tests of the Sarmat missile system have been successfully completed”, according to a Russian Defense Ministry statement.
So far, no videos or images showing new launches have been produced.
Russia today claimed flight tests of its giant Satan-2 hypersonic missile (pictured in April) had been ‘successfully carried out’ – without providing evidence
Karakaev made his announcement on the Satan-2 test at an expanded meeting of the Military Council of Strategic Missile Forces, held in the Moscow region.
It came amid speculation that the much-vaunted missile was behind schedule. It should be deployed by the end of this year.
Ten days ago, Russia vaguely reported that “the flight design trials of the Sarmat [ICBM] could continue before the end of this year with a second test launch to be carried out possibly”.
The missile is the size of a 14-story tower and is demanded by pro-Putin propagandists who regularly threaten to use it against Western enemies – particularly Britain and the United States – in an attempt to reduce their support for the Ukraine invaded by Russia.
Its first test was announced with great fanfare as soon as it took place on April 20, with Putin in contact via video link. The silo-based Satan-2 was launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.
In May, former Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, considered a close ally of Putin, said nearly 50 Satan-2 missiles, which were in “mass production”, would soon be in combat service. This was met with skepticism.
In early June, a major ICBM test was planned and residents near the Kura test area were warned to stay away from the target site in remote Kamchatka.
But this test never took place.
The announcement comes amid suspicion that Vladimir Putin’s 15,880mph ‘unstoppable’ hypersonic missile is far from ready for use, after other announced test launches apparently failed to materialize .
On June 25, Rogozin reported: “We are absolutely on schedule, we are now preparing for the second flight test of the Sarmat.” The following month, Rogozin was dismissed for unknown reasons with a new job promised by the Kremlin which has not yet arrived.
He was seen in the war zone recently, but has no new role despite reports that he is Putin’s personal representative for newly annexed parts of Ukraine.
TopWar.ru said the missile testing situation “raises questions.”
A commissioning decision would come after only two launches, if the schedule were to hold, the military media said. It was unclear why there were not more tests, as was the case with other major missiles before deployment.
“It is curious that the announced program of test launches does not provide a demonstration of the full potential of the new ICBM,” said a report ahead of Karakaev’s statement.
Defense analysts suspecting hypersonic hyperbola pointed out that Russia’s first R-36M2 Voevoda missile was tested no less than 17 times before being put into combat service.
Another missile – the RT-2PM Topol – was tested a dozen times before its deployment.
“In this context, the veracity of the terms conveyed by Rogozin – that Sarmat is in [serial] production and will soon be put on “combat duty” – seems doubtful,” said defense expert Leonid Nersisyan.
There has been speculation that the much-vaunted missile is behind schedule. It is supposed to be rolled out by the end of this year
“It is much more likely that Sarmat will follow the same program of testing, prototyping and experimentation as its predecessors,” he wrote in Shephard Media.
“Actual acceptance of the ICBM into service with strategic missile forces appears impossible before the end of 2022 and hardly achievable by 2024.”
In early July, Rogozin visited the Krasmash defense factory in Krasnoyarsk, eastern Siberia, which he called “the factory of the end of the world”, to inspect the production process of Satan-2. for flight tests.
The missile was deployed in a forest for the cameras – and Rogozin, making a saber sound, said: “The world’s most powerful nuclear-tipped, global-range missile is being readied for further testing.”
In April, after the first launch, Rogozin promised that there would be “some additional tests to prove the system’s compliance with the technical parameters set by the main customer – the Ministry of Defense”.
He then highlighted a 26-foot-deep crater created at the Kura test site by the missile without a nuclear warhead.
“With a nuclear charge, such a crater on an enemy site will be…well, very big and very deep – and radioactive.”
“And not just one, but exactly as many as the world’s most powerful nuclear missile will deliver into the territory of a fierce enemy.
“And soon we will have nearly 50 such Sarmats [the missile is known in the West as Satan-2] on combat duty.
“All that remains is to advise the aggressors to speak more politely with Russia.
Pictured: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Russian Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev and Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin during the Security Council meeting on November 18, 2022
Karakaev’s Armageddon missile announcement came as Putin held his first in-person meeting of his powerful security since February 21, three days before announcing his invasion of Ukraine.
There was immediate speculation that the event – which came after about a week in which Putin was rarely seen – was more important than the mundane program of civil defense improvements in the Russia.
All of Putin’s top security ministers were present with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu wearing a civilian suit.
Respected journalist Farida Rustamova commented: “Putin held a ‘small’ Security Council. [Not online] for the first time since February 21. No details, except that they discussed civil protection. I don’t like climbing, but it’s disturbing, to be honest.
This follows Kremlin watchers noting Putin’s relative absence in recent days, with suspicions that some meetings were “retained” or pre-recorded. He is seen to do this when he is ill or under medical treatment – or when there is bad news.
Independent media outlet Verstka said Putin had yet to react to the surrender of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson by its senior military commander Sergei Surovikin, or other embarrassing setbacks in his invasion in Classes.
“Disappearing in difficult times is one of our president’s most repetitive tricks,” said Ekaterina Shulman, a prominent political analyst and former member of his human rights council.
“He disappears for 10 days, for two weeks, when something is wrong.
“The best known of these disappearances took place after the murder of [opposition leader Boris] Nemtsov in 2015, but he was by no means the only…
‘It is his way… Apparently his long experience tells the political leader that if he turns away, he will dissolve.’