Russia is set to start flight tests of Sarmat advanced silo-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) this year.

The move was announced by the Russian Minister of Defence general of the army Sergey Shoigu during a visit to Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant (Krasmash).

He added that the flight tests will commence this year and will complete in 2022. Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces is also expected to start receiving the missiles next year.

According to local news agency Tass, Sarmat is slated to replace the R-36M2 Voevoda missiles, which has been operational since the 1970s.

The new missile is expected to weigh around 208.1t and will have a range of 18,000km.

Sarmat is powered by liquid fuel and can carry a payload of nearly 10t.

Separately, Minister Shoigu announced that Krasmash is prepared to implement a long-term contract for supplying the armed forces with the new missile.

In a meeting with the Krasmash employees, Minister Shoigu said: “We have just reviewed all the issues related to the new types of armament.

“We have examined the readiness of the ‘Krasmash’ to implement the long-term contract for one of the most formidable armaments that our country has to possess. It is the missile ‘Sarmat’. We are totally confident that the ‘Krasmash’ will complete the assigned tasks.”

In May, Russian manufacturer Kalashnikov conducted flight trials of Vikhr long-range anti-tank guided missiles.

These Vikhr missiles are designed to destroy moving armoured vehicles, enemy fortifications and low-speed air targets.