Putin claims success in developing hypersonic missiles

Washington Times:
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the impending deployment Wednesday of a new hypersonic nuclear-capable missile system that he claims will evade American defenses worldwide, dramatically upping the ante of a growing high-tech arms race with Washington.

Moscow has worked for years on the system known as “Avangard,” which is capable of striking targets thousands of miles away, and Mr. Putin boasted that the Russian military has now successfully tested the system with missiles that fly at 20 times the speed of sound — about a mile per second — to render all current missile defense systems obsolete.

The stunning assertion coincides a moment of increased military tension between the U.S. and Russia, as Moscow continues to test the Western resolve with brazen acts of aggression. Analysts say Mr. Putin’s public flaunting of Avangard’s hypersonic capabilities underscored his desire to position Russia as a leader on the global military stage on par with the U.S. and China.

Hypersonic weapons in general represent a serious threat to international stability. National security sources argue the U.S., Russia and China must come together to negotiate and sign a sweeping non-proliferation accord to stop weapons from spreading.

The question now centers on the extent to which Mr. Putin has elevated Moscow’s leverage over any future such negotiations.

“The Avangard is invulnerable to intercept by any existing and prospective missile defense means of the potential adversary,” the Russian president said in a speech Wednesday.
I suspect it would be vulnerable to laser weapons.  The hypersonic missiles tested seem rather fragile and can lose control pretty easily.  Assuming they are as deadly as Putin claims they could lead to the need of the US or other powers deciding a first strike was necessary.


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