Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday oversaw a test of a new hypersonic glide vehicle, saying that the weapon is impossible to intercept and would ensure Russia’s security for decades.
Speaking to Russia’s top military brass after watching the live feed of the launch of the Avangard vehicle from the Russian Ministry of Defense’s control room, Putin said the test was a “great success” and an “excellent New Year’s gift to the nation.”
The Avangard was among an array of new nuclear weapons that Putin presented in March, saying that Russia had to develop them in response to the development of the US missile defense system that could erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent.
The weapon was launched from the Dombarovskiy missile base in the southern Ural Mountains.
The Kremlin said it successfully hit a designated practice target on the Kura shooting range on Kamchatka, 6,000km away.
“The Avangard is invulnerable to intercept by any existing and prospective missile defense means of the potential adversary,” Putin said after the test, adding that the weapon would enter service next year with the military’s Strategic Missile Forces.
When presenting the Avangard in March, Putin said that the system has an intercontinental range and can fly in the atmosphere at 20 times the speed of sound.
He added that no other country had hypersonic weapons.
Avangard is designed using new composite materials to withstand temperatures of up to 2,000°C that come from a flight through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds, Putin has said.
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