Russia Shows Off Its So-Called "Super Nukes"


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer


Another of Russia's sizeable missiles, the Topal ballistic type. Destruction comes in many flavors! kojoku/Shutterstock

Watch out! The Independent, whose coverage has been curiously obsessed with apocalyptic prophecies as of late, is now warning that Russia has developed “super nuke” warheads capable of almost wiping out New York State. They will go into service as soon as 2018.

That sure sounds scary, but then again, all nuclear weapons are scary. After all, these new missiles – the RS-28 “Sarmat” type – were preceded by the nefarious-sounding SS-18 “Satan” variety, which were initially commissioned by the Soviet Union back in 1974.


The recent reveal of these shiny new doom-tubes by manufacturers Makeyev Rocket Design follows on from what has been a fair few months of Russian sabre-rattling. US-Russian relations are at a new nadir. No, it’s not the start of a new ideological Cold War, but things between the two countries are decidedly icy at the moment.

According to CNN, the new missiles will be colloquially dubbed “Satan 2,” because the Russian military clearly loves a good sequel. Able to fly across the North or South Poles, they will have a range exceeding 11,000 kilometers (6,835 miles). As ever, these missiles are designed to be used as a “nuclear deterrent” rather than a form of attack.

Meanwhile, Sputnik News reports that they will be able to move at hypersonic (read: much faster than the speed of sound) speeds. In addition, each of these new death-deliverers will contain 16 nuclear warheads each, making the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima look like a “popgun,” according to a blog post authored by one Dr Paul Roberts.

(Cited by The Independent, Roberts, the chairman of the Institute for Political Economy, appears to be someone who is deeply suspicious of almost everything and everyone for a vast array of reasons.)


He claims that “one Russian SS-18 wipes out three-fourths of New York State for thousands of years,” whereas five or six of them could make the East Coast of the US disappear. This suggests that the new RS-28s are even more effective at destroying America, but then again, if a single one is launched, it’s game over for everyone.

Another (perhaps more robust) expert by the name of Robert Kelley, a former nuclear weapons expert at the US Department of Energy, said that the upgrade isn’t in terms of detonation yield, but in electronics.

“The range of the missiles will be about the same, the explosive destructive power will be about the same [but] the reliability, flexibility, and confidence [in the warheads' ability to hit their targets] will go way up,” he told NBC News.

Don’t believe the hype, though. None of these “super-nukes” will fly thanks to the principle of mutually assured destruction. Best go worry about clowns or climate change instead.


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