Russia Successfully Tests Weapon That Travels 27 Times Speed of Sound and Renders Missile Defense Systems ‘Useless’—Officials (excerpt)
(Source: Newsweek; posted Dec 28, 2018)
By Aristos Georgiou
Russian officials said they have developed a new weapons system that travels at 27 times the speed of sound, thus making it “impossible” to intercept with current missile defense technology.
The system, known as the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, “essentially makes missile defenses useless,” Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told Russian state television on Thursday, Associated Press reported.
On Wednesday, the Russian military completed a successful test of the Avangard—according to the Kremlin—in which the weapon was launched from the Dombarovskiy missile base in the Southern Ural Mountains, striking a practice target 3,700 miles away in Kamchatka, a peninsula in the far east of the country.
President Vladimir Putin oversaw the test, commenting afterward that the weapons system would guarantee Russia’s security for the foreseeable future and that it could be deployed as early as next year.
The Russian Federation’s Ministry of Defense has released new footage of tests of the Avangard hypersonic missile, including this video from the launch point.
The weapon allegedly is impossible to intercept with existing anti-missile defenses because, unlike previous intercontinental ballistic missiles, which follow a predictable trajectory, the Avangard constantly changes its course and altitude as it flies, according to Sergei Ivanov—an adviser to Putin and former Russian defense minister who spoke during the televised press conference.
Ivanov said that Russia currently has 12 newly manufactured Avangard missiles, which were developed at relatively low cost. Furthermore, they can be housed in existing silos, removing the need to build expensive, specialized storage facilities.
“The Avangard has cost hundreds of times less than what the U.S. has spent on its missile defense,” Ivanov said. (end of excerpt)
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German Scholar: West Unable to Intercept Russia's Avangard Hypersonic Missile
(Source: Sputnik News; posted Dec 30, 2018)
Vladimir Putin unveiled that Russia had developed a new type of weapon that flies faster than the speed of sound and looks like a “fireball” in March 2018. Less than a week before the start of 2019, information about its successful test launch was released.
Dirk Zimper from the German Aerospace Centre told the country’s public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk (German Radio) that there are no effective defence systems against the hypersonic glide vehicle Avangard, which was successfully tested in December. According to the specialist, although the work on developing reliable countermeasures is underway, it is “really difficult” to intercept a hypersonic missile.
Zimper points to the acknowledgment of this fact in the US, referring to a statement by General John Hyten, the head of the Strategic Command of the United States. The general told the Senate Armed Forces Committee in March that the US had no defence that could prevent the use of such weapons against it.
According to the German scholar, there are three countries researching this technology now: apart from Russia, these are China and the US. However, he expressed the opinion that the successful test launch of the Avangard had not shifted the international balance of power.
“It is clear that nations like the US, Russia, and China have been researching such systems for decades, and it is indeed a competition. It would be very difficult to say here who might have advanced further on this research and might be behind. I think it is a neck to neck situation”, Zimper told the broadcaster.
The glider vehicle, able to carry a megaton-class nuclear warhead, was unveiled by Vladimir Putin in March 2018, when he spoke about the newest additions to Russian arms inventory, including the SARMAT missile system, super-fast drone torpedoes, nuclear-powered cruise missiles, the air missile system “Kinzhal”, as well as laser weapons.
On 26 December, it was announced that the Avangard missile, dubbed a "New Year's present to the nation" by Russian President Vladimir Putin, had been test-launched from a base in the southern Ural Mountains and successfully hit a practice target in Kamchatka some 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles) away.
The missile, which is said to fly 27 times faster than the speed of sound, can change course and altitude while flying through the atmosphere, zigzagging its path to its target, making it virtually impossible to predict the weapon's location.
According to Sergei Ivanov, a former Russian defence minister, Russia began to develop the Avangard after 2002 when the US withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and began work on defences against ballistic missiles.