Russian Federation touts hypersonic missile speed

Russian President Vladimir Putin third from left observes Wednesday's test launch of the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle from the Defense Ministry's control room in Moscow. The weapon is said to be impossible to intercept

Russian president Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hailed final tests of a hypersonic missile, which he earlier said would render existing missile defence systems obsolete.

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.

"The new Avangard system is impervious to current and future air defense and missile defense systems of a potential enemy", he noted.

The Russian president had previously discussed the Avangard project in March, when he touted its abilities in the annual state of the nation speech to the Federal Assembly. "Russian Federation has obtained a new type of strategic weapon", he said.

Putin was speaking after overseeing what the Kremlin said was a pre-deployment test of the new missile system, called Avangard. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

It is extremely hard to predict the glider's trajectory, which essentially leaves any missile defense system off-guard.

A video released by the ministry showed only the first phase of the test, when the glider vehicle was contained within a UR-100N UTTKh missile (in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation terms, the SS-19 Stiletto).

In Wednesday's test, the weapon was launched from the Dombarovskiy missile base in the southern Ural Mountains. It's a big moment in the life of the armed forces and in the life of the country.

"Flying at hypersonic speed, the glide vehicle performed vertical and horizontal manoeuvres and hit the hypothetical target in time within the range's combat field", the statement added. China's DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle is estimated by US intelligence agencies to see deployment by 2020.

Ivanov recalled that when Russian officials warned their United States counterparts about the new weapon programme at the time, American officials were openly skeptical about Russia's ability to carry out its plan. The missile's payload separates after the booster's powered flight into the exoatmosphere; after that, the hypersonic glide vehicle descends and maneuvers in the upper atmosphere to its target.

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