Russia Tests Nuclear-Capable Hypersonic Weapon
Russia has successfully conducted its final test of a hypersonic glider capable of carrying nuclear warheads, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
Putin, who oversaw the test Wednesday, said the weapon is impossible to intercept and will ensure Russia’s security for decades to come.
He called it an “excellent New Year’s gift to the nation.”
The weapon, dubbed Avangard, detaches itself from a rocket after being launched and glides back to Earth at speeds faster than the speed of sound.
On Wednesday, the Avangard was launched from the Dombarovskiy missile base in the southern Ural Mountains. Putin said it hit its designated target at a shooting range 6,000 kilometers away.
“The Avangard is invulnerable to intercept by any existing and prospective missile defense means of the potential adversary,” Putin said after the test.
He said the weapon will become part of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces next year.
The Pentagon is also working on hypersonic weapons, but U.S. officials have warned they lag behind Russia.
The test comes at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington over allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, conflict in Ukraine and the war in Syria.