Russia will conduct 16 launch tests of RS-28 in 2016 (https://www.rt.com/news/328427-strategic-missile-troops-roadmap/, http://www.valuewalk.com/2015/11/russia-new-sarmat-missile/ & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS-28_Sarmat), its newest and latest nuclear missile. You can get a list of existing nuclear missiles at Wikipedia, which is quite comprehensive (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_ICBMs). Of course, RS-28 is not on the list, because it’s still being tested. Note that ValueWalk is an American media company with Russian senior management, so we should consider it essentially Russian as well. Both Russia Today and ValueWalk are very pro-Russia, so you will certainly smell it at the first read of their news articles. Still, Russia doesn’t lie too much about their aggressiveness in nuclear armament, so it may be more accurate to turn to their sources for this type of news.
What for? Isn’t Russia a nuclear superpower already? Why hurry? Their super aggressive deployment schedule definitely reveals the urgency of the matter. However, I agree with them that nuclear weapons should always be the top priority of military modernization, way above army, navy and even air force. After all, we don’t know any other weapon more effective than nuclear weapons yet.
Lack of advancement in submarine-based nuclear missiles is worrisome. Russia’s focus on RS-28, a land-based missile, means that Russia is going for a first-strike strategy instead of nuclear deterrence. Why? They understand that their conventional force might lose to NATO very quickly, should a war occur in near future. A first-strike nuclear strategy will make US and NATO think twice before any tiny little military involvement. What’s new about RS-28 compared to their old missiles? More payload and better anti-defense mechanisms. The new RS-28 can deliver 40 megatons of destruction each, not to mention the possibility of enhanced radiation with cobalt-60. Year 2016 will be exciting for the planet to celebrate the end of the world, the year of deployment for the super powerful RS-28 in Russia.
If you have no idea about what I am talking about, you can refer to Trident II (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UGM-133_Trident_II), the American main missile force, each capable of delivering 12 W88 warheads, each in turn capable of 475 kilotons of destruction. That will translate to about 6 megatons of destruction compared to 40 megatons with RS-28. You can talk about your advantages of multiple warheads all you want, but no matter how you can spread them out for the maximum effect, 6 megatons will never be 40 megatons.
So, US will have no choice but wipe out the entire Russia to prevent Russia’s first strike, but when? That’s the strategically difficult question to answer. It’s like facing a guy with a suicide bomb on the airplane, but you can’t do anything to him just because he doesn’t detonate it yet.
Oil price is depressing. Life is not great in Russia. Suicide sounds like a good idea.
Lack of advancement in submarine-based nuclear missiles is worrisome. It means that Russia will have to pull its trigger fast, without a blink of an eye, or be the loser. It means that a nuclear war will be more likely.
How will Putin try to look like a good guy? Easy. Russia will pair the launch of RS-28 with S-500, which will make US the bad guy instead. We will see how he will ace future interviews when it comes to questions about Russia’s military strategy. After all, if Putin makes Russia look bad, the end of his popularity is nigh.