Russia successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which Nato has called “Satan 2”, the country’s military said.
The RS-28 “Sarmat” blasted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in its northern Arkhangelsk province, close to the Arctic Circle.
Intended to replace the aging, Soviet-era missiles that form the basis of its nuclear deterrent, Russia has been working to develop a new ICBM to replace the Soviet-designed Voyevoda, known as “Satan” in the west.
That missile can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads, the Associated Press reported.
After the launch Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael said the US has not received any advance notice of the launch.
“I would defer you to the Russian Ministry of Defense to explain where an ejection test falls in the very early stages of the development of an ICBM missile program, and how far the item in question actually travelled,” he said.
Sarmat is thought to weigh 200 metric tonnes and has a higher range than Satan, allowing it to fly over the North or South Pole and strike targets anywhere on the earth. It has been in development since at least 2011.
Presenting Sarmat and an array of other nuclear weapons earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin said that even America’s most advanced missile defence systems would be rendered ineffective by them.
“No kind of, not even future missile defense systems will offer any trouble to the Russian rocket complex, Sarmat,” the Russian leader said in his state of the nation speech.
He added that Sarmat also carries a bigger number of nuclear warheads, which are more powerful than the ones on Satan.
The Russian president also said the new ICBM accelerates faster than its predecessor, making it harder for the enemy to intercept in its most vulnerable phase after the launch.
He also added that Sarmat could carry an array of warheads capable of dodging missile defences.
Agencies contributed to this report