Defcon Watch: The Beast has risen
Russia successfully tests its latest ICBM
The “son of Satan.” That’s what they call it. Unofficially. Officially, it’s the RS-28 Sarmat, the latest and most modern MIRV, or multiple independently targeted reentry vehicle (as in: warheads, in this case a total of fifteen, each one a city-killer; as in: London, Paris, New York…the list goes on) intercontinental ballistic missile in the strategic nuclear arsenal of the Russian Federation, a replacement for the R-36M, known by its NATO reporting name as the “SS-18 Satan.”
The Sarmat not only carries a huge payload, one that would allow a single missile to wipe out a country the size of France, its extended range of 22,000 miles gives it the ability to fly the long way around the earth to reach its targets, tricking out enemy radar and missile defense systems; while its short-burn duration at blast off means Western satellites would have trouble detecting any launch. Add to that its capacity to swap out standard MIRVs for hypersonic missiles, and you have the most advanced and dangerous ICBM in history now being put into service as NATO and Russia remain on a head-on collision course over Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Oh, and don’t forget about our dear business comrades in Beijing—the day before the Russian test, China launched its own new hypersonic missile, the YJ-21, designed specifically to destroy U.S. aircraft carriers. The “YJ” stands for “Ying Ji,” Chinese for “Eagle Strike.”
Alex Holstein is the co-author of Warfighter: The Story of an American Fighting Man, due out May 15, 2022, from Lyons Press. He holds an MSc in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies from the London School of Economics, where he wrote his thesis on the Soviet KGB.