The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation will launch the newest liquid intercontinental ballistic missile RS-28 "Sarmat" not earlier than the fourth quarter of 2017. The reason for the postponement of the terms is the need to conduct additional tests at the stands of the Krasnoyarsk machine-building plant.
Two forward managers of rocket-building enterprises told about the transfer of the "Sarmat" throw tests to Kommersant, and a Defense Ministry officer close to the command of the Strategic Rocket Forces (Strategic Missile Forces) confirmed. Officially, at the Makeev State Missile Center, Krasmash and Roskosmos State Corporation, they refrain from commenting on the topic "Sarmat". The representative of the Strategic Missile Forces refused to respond promptly to Kommersant's questions and asked for an official request.
Tests of the newest liquid rocket were originally planned to be carried out in 2016, but the timeframes were constantly corrected and moved "to the right." The next attempt was scheduled for March 2017, but by that time experts had not had time to complete the work on equipping the silo launcher at the Plesetsk cosmodrome. The deadline was moved to April, but then there was a force majeure: during the strength tests at the Krasnoyarsk machine-building plant, problems arose with the missile itself. For troubleshooting, it took about two months: the last time Interfax reported that the tests were postponed to June. But in June they could not be held: according to Kommersant's interlocutors, the timing of the throw tests is shifting again and tentatively they will be held no earlier than the fourth quarter of 2017: "We will try to bring the product to mind by carrying out a test cycle at the stands."
Throw tests involve checking the operation of the powder launch accelerator, which pushes the rocket from the mine to a height of about 30 meters, as well as collecting and analyzing information on the behavior of ICBMs after exiting the installation. According to Kommersant's information, by the end of the year Krasmash will have to collect three Sarmatas with a large-scale mock-up instead of a combat unit. The missile should be in service in 2019-2020, as they say in the Ministry of Defense: by this time, Sarmat has to undergo a cycle of flight-design tests, and also to carry out a credible launch. After that, the military deployed it in the Uzhur (Krasnoyarsk Territory) and Dombarovo (Orenburg region) divisions of the Strategic Missile Force.
The project "Sarmat" is constantly discussed at selector meetings with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, his subordinates control the production process on a daily basis, and Mr. Shoigu always visits the plant when he comes to the Krasnoyarsk Territory. There are several reasons for this. The Sarmat missile complex should replace the world's most powerful missile-based strategic missile RS-20V Voevoda: the new product will be equipped not only with a detachable warhead with ten combat blocks of individual guidance (for the Topol-M solid-fuel assemblage complexes only three ). "Sarmat" will also perform the functions of the carrier of hypersonic blocks, in particular "object 4202" (R & D "Avangard"), which is being developed by Reutov NPO of machine building. Hyper-sound weapons should become one of the key factors for the breakthrough of the existing and prospective ABM system.
According to a source from Kommersant close to the leadership of the Defense Ministry, increased attention to the plant is also associated with serious problems that arose in the enterprise in 2015-2016. After the state corporation Roskosmos transferred the director of Krasmash Vladimir Kolmykov to the leadership of the Khimki NGO Energomash, he was replaced by his first deputy, Alexander Nazarko. By this time, the plant began modernization: before leaving, Mr. Kolmykov concluded all the reputable state contracts for the construction of "Krasmash" facilities. His successor did not find a common language with the builders, recalls the source of Kommersant at the enterprise, the work has stalled, and the state defense order (the plant also produces liquid Sineva and Liner ICBMs) was in jeopardy. As a result, the state corporation had to return Vladimir Kolmykov to Krasmash. The decision was justified, Kommersant's source in the military department said: "He gave the enterprise almost 40 years, knows everyone and everything - the problems were settled within six months, and all the catching schedules are observed, which was appreciated by the minister." Vladimir Kolmykov himself reported on June 6 to Sergey Shoigu that the modernization of production is planned to be completed in 2020.