By Jonathan Davis
A year ago during Russia’s version of a ‘state of the union’ address, President Vladimir Putin announced that his military had developed a hypersonic ballistic missile capability.
According to a report by The Duran:
During his yearly “State of the Russian Federation” speech, modeled roughly after the United States’ own “State of the Union” address, President Putin announced the deployment of six extremely advanced weapons systems and technologies.
One is a hypersonic, in-atmosphere device that can fly at Mach 20 and steer itself to evade radar and detection systems. Called the Avangard, this system was said by President Putin to already be in production and deployed.
A video of the missile is here:
“This system is characterized by the ability to fly in dense layers of the atmosphere at hypersonic speed to intercontinental distances and range, at speeds in excess of Mach 20,” Putin said during his speech.
“It’s ability to maneuver in flight make it absolutely invulnerable to any means of anti-aircraft or anti-missile systems, and its use of new composite materials which have been developed have solved the problem of long term flight control in the conditions of being in plasma [due to the high atmospheric speeds]. It goes to its target as though it were a meteorite, with a surface temperature ranging from 1600 to 2000 degrees Celsius.
He added: “For obvious reasons, we cannot today show the true appearance of this system, but I want to assure you that all of this is in stock and it works very well.”
That was March 2018. Last month, the Russian military demonstrated the system to Pentagon officials.
Tass reported that the demonstration was allegedly performed as a way to keep the New START agreement in effect:
The Russian military demonstrated the latest Avangard missile system with the hypersonic boost-glide vehicle to the United States, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday. …
The Avangard is a strategic intercontinental ballistic missile system equipped with a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle. According to open sources, the breakthrough weapon was developed by the Research and Production Association of Machine-Building (the town of Reutov, the Moscow Region) and was tested from 2004.
The boost-glide vehicle is capable of flying at over 20 times the speed of sound in the dense layers of the atmosphere, maneuvering by its flight path and its altitude and breaching any anti-missile defense.
Well, now the system is not only fully operational, but it’s now on combat duty. But so is another hypersonic weapon that is air-launched.
According to Zero Hedge:
The Kinzhal (Dagger), which is carried by MiG-31 fighter jets, entered service with the Russian air force last year. Putin has said the missile flies 10 times faster than the speed of sound, has a range of more than 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) and can carry a nuclear or a conventional warhead. The military said it is capable of hitting both land targets and navy ships.
Meanwhile, as Russia pulls away technologically from the US in “first-strike”capabilities, China is breathing down its neck. Beijing tested its own hypersonic glide vehicle, believed to be capable of traveling at least five times the speed of sound. It displayed the weapon called Dong Feng 17, or DF-17, at a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese state.
The Pentagon has its own hypersonic missile system in development, and it’s on a fast track. But according to reports, it’s not likely to be ready for at least a couple more years.
That means, in the meantime, Russia — and possibly China — will have game-changing ballistic missiles that are nuclear-capable and, at between Mach 20 and Mach 27 atmospheric reentry speed, far faster than any existing U.S. or NATO missile defense system can possibly target.
Included in U.S. missile defense plans are deploying new sensor arrays in space, as well as, perhaps, missile interceptors. But at those speeds, about the only weapon that is faster is a laser (speed of light — ~186,000 miles-per-second). And we don’t have a laser portable enough or powerful enough yet to target a hypersonic missile.