Avangard weapon makes missile defences useless, Russian Federation says

Russia conducts successful test of Avangard hypersonic missile system

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the performance of the newest hypersonic Avangard missile on Wednesday after attending its successful test launch carried out on his order.

The United States' Ground-Based Midcourse Defense missile defense system is officially created to protect against limited threats from countries like North Korea and is not created to negate Russian Federation or China's strategic deterrents.

Putin described the successful test, in which the glider was launched from a site in southwestern Russian Federation toward a target on the Kamchatka Peninsula more than 3,500 miles away, as a "wonderful, flawless New Year's gift for the country".

During the flight, the missile made maneuvers in vertical and horizontal directions, according to the anticipated drawn trajectory, said the same source.

Despite having a mass in its start between 50 and 60 tons, the Avangard (RS-26) travels at a hypersonic speed with a maximum range of six thousand kilometers. "Russian Federation has obtained a new type of strategic weapon", he said. He said Avangard "heads for its target like a meteorite". The Avangard is a hypersonic warhead re-entry vehicle that is created to outpace and outmaneuver US missile defense systems.

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"From next year, 2019, Russia's armed forces will get the new intercontinental strategic system Avangard".

"This is a major event in the life of the armed forces and, perhaps, in the life of the country", Putin told his cabinet ministers in televised remarks Wednesday. In footage released by the Kremlin, the Russian leader can be seen watching the successful test launch of the new missile that could evade United States defences.

He said deployment of the glide vehicle, called Avangard and launched from intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), will begin next year.

He further emphasized no other country had hypersonic weapons. He added that the new weapon "essentially makes missile defenses useless".

The United States is also working on hypersonic missiles, some of them launched from airplanes, although US officials have warned in recent months that the efforts lag behind those of potential adversaries.

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