The Sarmat program that is expected to produce a new "heavy" ICBM, appears to have hit some kind of a bump. Of course, it's hard to know it for certain--these things don't get a lot of coverage--but there are a few signs that may suggest that the program is in some kind of trouble.

The first sign was the delay with be first ejection tests--they were moved from 2015 to the end of 2016 and now to 2017 (for all we know, this may be the end of 2017). The delay was sort of explained by a problem with the test silo, but that explanation never sounded very convincing.

Another sign is something Shoygu said when he visited Krasmash earlier this month [UPDATE: There was no visit in January 2017]. He promised that the ministry of defense will demand weekly reports on the progress with development of "prospective strategic missile systems" that are built at Krasmash. The idea, he said, is to check that the project meets the milestones that were set at the end of 2016, when these milestones were adjusted. That's pretty harsh and looks like an extraordinary measure to me.

This is all circumstantial, but it does appear that the tests of Sarmat were supposed to begin at the end of 2016, but had to be moved to 2017 for reasons that have nothing to do with the test silo. Something may not be working at Krasmash.

UPDATE 02/01/2017: Shoygu again confirmed that Krasmash is behind the schedule with some projects.

UPDATE 04/01/2017: The ejection test is unlikely to happen before June 2017.

UPDATE 06/08/2017: Shoygu visited Krasmash on 06/06/17, apparently to check on Sarmat. Reports are that the test will happen in June 2017.