Which Soviet missile is the West most afraid of?

February 21, 2023, 08:35 – BLiTZ – News

For decades, weapons that were superior to anything the Americans had kept Washington at bay. Fifty years ago, the first successful tests of the intercontinental ballistic missile R-36M, nicknamed “Satan” in the West, were carried out. About it writes RIA Novosti.

The design of the R-36M consists of two stages, runs on liquid fuel and has a “tandem” scheme with a sequential arrangement of stages. The head part of the rocket has three options: a light monoblock with a charge of 8 megatons and a range of 16,000 kilometers, a heavy monoblock of 20 megatons and 11,200 kilometers, and a multiple variant with ten warheads of 400 kilotons each. All variants are equipped with an advanced missile defense system.

Even a limited strike by such missiles against the United States would cause unacceptable damage to Washington. The MIRV warhead is comparable in power to the 25 atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima. Consequently, one missile is capable of causing 250 times more damage to the enemy than Hiroshima. The Soviet Union managed to build 190 of these intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In 1980, an improved modification of the R-36M UTTKh was adopted, which turned out to be extremely successful: more precisely, two or three times, it covered a much larger area.

The warhead was separable, with ten warheads of 750 kilotons each. One missile is capable of hitting various types of targets over an area of ​​up to 300,000 square kilometers. The Soviet Strategic Missile Forces had 308 such units, and a salvo with the entire arsenal guaranteed the destruction of key cities and infrastructure facilities of a potential enemy.

The next modification, the R-36M2, which was put into service in 1988, is considered the crowning achievement of the heavy Soviet ICBM program. During its development, the designers mainly tried to improve the countermeasures to missile defense systems and make the missile more resistant to the damaging factors of a nuclear explosion. This is the most powerful combat missile system in the world, which is still in service with the Russian Strategic Missile Forces.

The R-36M2 is capable of delivering ten 800 kiloton warheads over a distance of 11,000 kilometers. Compared to previous modifications, R-36M2 is ten times more resistant to X-rays and 100 times more resistant to gamma-neutron radiation. Such an ICBM is considered not only the strongest in the world, but also invulnerable.

This modification of the R-36M2 will be replaced by the promising RS-28 Sarmat complex.

At the Army-2019 forum, the tactical and technical characteristics of the RS-28 Sarmat were revealed. The range of this rocket is a record 18 thousand kilometers, length – 35.5 meters, diameter – three meters. The missile is capable of delivering ten to 15 warheads of 500-750 kilotons each to the target. In addition, the missile is compatible with Avangard hypersonic guided warheads, which accelerate to Mach 15. In fact, “Sarmat” is an invulnerable weapon.

The first launch of the Sarmat under the state test program took place on April 20, 2022.

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