Putin oversees test Wednesday of new hypersonic glide vehicle
According to Russian media, the new weapon will be impossible to intercept and will ensure Russia’s security for decades to come. Russian President Vladimir Putin watched a live-feed of the launch of the Avangard vehicle from the Defense Ministry’s control room.
Speaking to top military brass after what appeared to be a successful launch of the hypersonic glide missile
, Putin called it a “great success” and an “excellent New Year’s gift to the nation.”
The missile successfully hit a designated practice target
on the Kura shooting range on Kamchatka, 3,700 miles away. “The Avangard is invulnerable to intercept by any existing and prospective missile defense means of the potential adversary,” Putin said, adding that the new weapon will enter service in 2019.
The Avangard is just one of a number of new nuclear weapons that Putin presented in March, saying that Russia had to develop them in response to the development of the U.S. missile defense system that could erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent, according to Digital Journal.
When the Avangard was introduced in March, Putin declared the missile had an intercontinental range and can fly in the atmosphere at 20 times the speed of sound, bypassing the enemy’s missile defense.
Yet, at the time, US defense secretary, James Mattis, talking to reporters while traveling in Oman, said nothing that Russia has shown off changes anything, from the Pentagon’s perspective.
“I saw no change to the Russian military capability and each of these systems that he’s talking about that are still years away, I do not see them changing the military balance. They do not impact any need on our side for a change in our deterrence posture.”
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