‘An excellent New Year’s gift to the nation’: Boasting Putin successfully tests a new hypersonic missile that is ‘impossible to intercept’
- Putin today oversaw a successful test of the Avangard hypersonic intercontinental strategic missile system which will enter service in 2019
- Yesterday Russia began testing a nuclear-capable strategic drone underwater
- Both tests come amid a bitter increase in tensions between Russia and the U.S
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.
Speaking to his top military brass after watching the live feed of the launch of the Avangard vehicle from the Defence Ministry’s control room, Putin said the successful test was a ‘great success’ and an ‘excellent New Year’s gift to the nation’.
Meanwhile Russia has launched underwater trials for the Poseidon nuclear-capable strategic drone, the state-run Tass news agency reported Tuesday.
Russia’s Avangard hypersonic intercontinental strategic missile system is to enter into service in 2019 after a successful test today
Russian President Vladimir Putin (centre) speaks to armed forces and government officials after successfully testing the Avangard intercontinental strategic missile with a gliding hypersonic warhead
The development of the drone was announced by Putin in his state-of-the-nation speech in March, in which he boasted of an array of new nuclear weapons ‘invulnerable to enemy interception’.
The Poseidon drone could potentially carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of up to 2 megatonnes that would be used to destroy enemy naval bases, Tass reported, citing a source in the defense industry.
The test comes amid bitter tensions in Russia-US relations, which have sunk to their lowest level since Cold War times over the conflict in Ukraine, the war in Syria and the allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
Russia yesterday began to test underwater trials of Poseidon – a nuclear-capable strategic drone
Putin’s hopes for repairing ties with Washington under President Donald Trump have fizzled amid investigations into allegations of Trump’s campaign ties with Russia, and tensions have escalated as the US administration slapped Russia with new waves of sanctions.
The Avangard was among the 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 defence system that could erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent.
In Wednesday’s test, 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, 3,700 miles 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 new weapon will enter service next year with the military’s Strategic Missile Forces.
‘From next year, 2019, Russia’s armed forces will get the new intercontinental strategic system Avangard … It’s a big moment in the life of the armed forces and in the life of the country. Russia has obtained a new type of strategic weapon,’ he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks on the phone on Christmas Day, 2018
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Head of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff General Valery Gerasimov watch through a video link a successful test launch of Avangard
When first presenting the Avangard in March, the Russian leader said the new system has an intercontinental range and can fly in the atmosphere at 20 times the speed of sound, bypassing the enemy’s missile defence.
He emphasised that no other country currently has hypersonic weapons.
Putin has said that Avangard is designed using new composite materials to withstand temperatures of up to 2,000C that come from a flight through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds.