Russian President Vladimir Putin has today overseen a test of a new hypersonic glide vehicle, declaring that the weapon is impossible to intercept and will ensure the country's security for decades to come.
The test, which is said to be the platform's last before the missile is entered into combat service next year, was shown in a film that was immediately distributed wide across multiple Russian-backed media outlets in what has become a common bit of weapons-industry marketing for Russia in recent months.
President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russian Federation would deploy its first regiment of hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles next year, saying the move meant his country now had a new type of strategic weapon. He added that the new weapon "essentially makes missile defenses useless".
Putin announced an array of new weapons in March, including the Avangard, saying they could hit nearly any point in the world and evade a US-built missile shield. "Russian Federation has obtained a new type of strategic weapon", he said.
When Putin unveiled the new weapon during his state of the nation address in March, he said the missile was highly maneuverable and flew at 20 times the speed of sound. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
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The Kremlin said it successfully hit a designated practice target on the Kura shooting range on Kamchatka, 3,700 miles away.
After being launched by a rocket, a vehicle carrying a potentially nuclear payload detaches and glides back to earth at hypersonic speeds. It can carry conventional or nuclear weapons and maneuver past defenses, according to Russian officials. It's a big moment in the life of the armed forces and in the life of the country.
The United States' Ground-Based Midcourse Defense missile defense system is officially created to protect against limited threats from countries like North Korea and is not created to negate Russian Federation or China's strategic deterrents.
It comes amid strained relations between Russia and the United States and Europe, with tensions stoked by Ukraine, the Syrian war and allegations of Russian meddling in America's 2016 presidential election.