Russia has declassified the first ever image of its new thermonuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS-28 Sarmat.
In May this year Sputnik, a Russian publication aligned with the Kremlin, claimed the missile could carry a payload capable of wiping a landmass "the size of Texas or France".
Known colloquially as "Satan 2" the missile will replace its predecessor, the RS-36M, dubbed "Satan" by NATO after entering service in the 1970s.
A statement signed by chief designer V. Degtar and leading designer Y. Kaverin accompanied the illustration on its release Sunday.
"In accordance with the Decree of the Russian Government 'On the State Defense Order for 2010 and the planning period 2012-2013,' the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau was instructed to start design and development work on the Sarmat.
"In June 2011, the Bureau and the Russian Ministry of Defense signed a state contract for the Sarmat's development," reads the note on the bureau's website.
According to Russian media, the missile's first stage engine PDU-99 was tested in August, while a hypersonic warhead for the upcoming missile was reportedly tested back in April.
The Sarmat is expected to enter service in late 2018.
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