Monday, October 30, 2017
Russia test-fires ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warhead in massive military drill involving fighter jets and submarines
Russia has test-fired ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads in a massive military drill involving fighter jets and submarines.
The Strategic Nuclear Forces exercise saw missiles fired from land, sea and air in President Vladimir Putin's latest show of force amid tensions with the West.
Projectiles were fired from a cosmodrome, by long-range strategic bomber aircraft and nuclear subs from Russia's northern and Pacific fleets.
Russia's Ministry of Defence hailed the exercise as a success, saying "all assigned targets were engaged".
It comes just days after it emerged that the country is set to test its biggest ever nuclear missile which is powerful enough to destroy the whole of the UK, Texas or France with a single strike.
Defence officials said Tu-160, Tu-95MS, and Tu-22M3 aircraft took off from the Ukrainka, Engels and Shaikovka airfields and fired cruise missiles at ground targets located at the Kura (Kamchatka), Pemboy (Komi), and Terekta (Kazakhstan).
They also said Strategic Missile Forces fired a Topol missile from the Plesetsk State Test Cosmodrome at the Kura range.
And a Pacific fleet submarine fired two ballistic missiles from the Okhotsk Sea at the Chizha range, Arkhangelsk region, and a northern fleet submarine fired a ballistic missile at the Kura range.
The Ministry said: "The troops completed all tasks. All assigned targets were engaged."
The so-called Satan 2 intercontinental ballistic missile could deliver about a dozen nuclear warheads of 40 megatons - 2,000 times as powerful as the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
President Vladimir Putin's Defence Ministry plans to test two RS-28 Sarmat super nukes at the remote Plesetsk Cosmodrome before the end of the year, it was reported.
The 100-tonne weapons - which could enter service as early as 2019 - will make the bombs dropped on Japan look like “popguns”, experts have said.
Russia claims the missiles can "beat any defences" as it seeks to replace its arsenal of SS-18 Satan weapons.
The Satan 2 missile was displayed during a Victory Day parade in May and test-firings have been delayed several times due to problems with the missile itself and silo.
A source told the Moscow-based Kommersant newspaper that two tests will take place this year, as long as the first one goes according to plan.
The source said: "The main purpose is to check the performance of the rocket's systems at the time of the exit from the silo, and the activation of Sarmat's first stage and the subsequent [flight] for about five seconds."
Last May, frightening footage of the liquid-fuelled Satan 2 being paraded through the streets was posted online.
Moscow weapons experts have said the weapon of mass destruction will be able to evade radar defences and could travel far enough to strike London or the East and West Coast of the US.
The terrifying new missile is twice as light as Russia's current ballistic missiles, the Voyevoda, with an estimated range of more than 6,000 miles.
The missiles have an estimated speed of more than Mach 20, or 4.3 miles per second.
Military expert Aleksey Leonkov told Kommersant that when Russia adopted the Voyevoda it carried out more than 30 tests, and not all were successful.
He expects a high number of Satan 2 tests to be carried out before the weapon is deemed ready for service.