Significant nuclear setback for Russia

Written by Henrik Rothen

Nov.07 - 2023 10:59 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Significant nuclear setback for Russia.

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The unsuccessful tests of Russia's intercontinental ballistic missiles represent a significant setback for the country's nuclear deterrence.

Recently, Russia has faced considerable challenges in modernizing its strategic nuclear forces. On November 1st, Russia reportedly conducted unsuccessful tests of the Yars intercontinental missile, which is a core element of the ground component of Russia's strategic nuclear forces, as reported by Ukraine's defense intelligence according to German Merkur.

The launch of the Yars missile from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region to the Kura test range in Kamchatka was carried out by the combat crew of the 33rd Missile Army of the Strategic Missile Troops of the Russian Armed Forces.

According to Ukraine's defense intelligence, the Yars missile deviated from its course, similar to previous command staff exercises on October 25th.

Bulava missile test allegedly successful

The test launch of the Bulava ballistic missile from a Borei-class submarine on October 25th also ended unsuccessfully, confirming its unreliability, as reported by the defense-focused online magazine Defence Express.

However, Russia tested the Bulava missile again on November 1st, and this time, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, it was successful. The ballistic missile was launched from an underwater position off the Russian northern coast in the Barents Sea and hit a target a thousand kilometers away on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East.

Russia's key project: The Sarmat missile

Moscow is also experiencing serious issues with the heavy intercontinental Sarmat missile, one of the key projects in the announced process of modernizing Russia's strategic nuclear forces. The Sarmat missile has been under development in Russia since 2009.

According to Moscow's original plans, as stated by Defense Express, the Sarmat missile was supposed to have been commissioned five years ago, in 2018, but the date has been repeatedly postponed. The Sarmat missile was only commissioned in September 2023 after the first and only comprehensive test was conducted in April of that year.

Compared to the RS-20 Voevoda missile produced in Ukraine, the Sarmat missile shows no advantages in terms of design, warhead, or methods of overcoming missile defense. In fact, the Sarmat missile is an underdeveloped, imperfect tube missile, as analyzed by Defence Express.

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