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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Latest Russian strategic missile makes US missile defenses 'useless': Moscow

Iran Press TV

Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:13AM

Russia's latest strategic weapon can travel 27 times faster than the speed of sound, making it impossible to intercept by missile defense systems, a senior Russian official has announced.

The new weapon, referred to as Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, "essentially makes missile defenses useless," said Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov as cited in state-owned Zvezda TV channel on Thursday.

"The latest tests have shown that it has reached speeds close to 30 Machs. Practically at these speeds, no anti-missile can knock it down," Borisov added.

He spoke a day after President Vladimir Putin oversaw what he hailed as a decisively successful test of the Avangard and a reliable guarantee of Russia's security for decades to come.

Putin further said the new hypersonic missile system, which he added can evade US ballistic missile defenses, will be deployed in 2019 as part of Russia's focus on advancing its defense capabilities.

"This is a great success and a big victory. This is a wonderful, excellent gift for the country for the New Year," Putin said as quoted in report by state news agency, Tass.

Putin was also cited in press reports as saying that Russia was forced to develop the Avangard after Washington withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002.

The Russian president recently expressed concern that a plan by the administration of US President Donald Trump to scrap the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) arms control treaty could lead to a new arms race.

Putin 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.

During Wednesday's test of the weapon, the Avangard was reportedly launched from the Dombarovskiy missile base in the southern Ural Mountains, with Moscow announcing that it successfully struck its intended target on the Kura shooting range on Kamchatka, some 6,000 kilometers away.

Former Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov also stated in televised remarks that the Avangard constantly changes its course and altitude as it flies through the atmosphere.

He further emphasized that unlike previous nuclear warheads fitted to intercontinental ballistic missiles that follow a predictable trajectory allowing it to calculate the spot where they can be intercepted, the Avangard chaotically zigzags on its path to its target, making it impossible to predict its location.

The test comes amid bitter tensions in US-Russia relations, which have greatly deteriorated over the Ukrainian crisis, the foreign-backed conflict in Syria and Washington's persisting allegations that Moscow had meddled in the 2016 US presidential election.

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