Putin Lauds Successful Test Of Hypersonic Missile System

Saul Bowman
December 28, 2018

While Russia boasts that Avangard can bypass any current missile defense systems in service today, USA military experts have questioned the system's ability to live up to the claims.

In a bellicose speech in March, Putin presented the Avangard missile as one of an array of new nuclear weapons that Russian Federation needed to counter new threats posed by the development of the U.S. missile defense system.

The drone - named Poseidon following an online vote conducted by the Defense Ministry - was unveiled by Putin alongside the Avangard in his March address.

The weapon travels in the dense layer of the atmosphere, much higher than other ballistic missiles, and uses a maneuvering glider warhead.

Analysts said Russian Federation appeared to have publicised the test last week to highlight closer military ties between Moscow and Beijing and to promote its S-400 system.

Putin has been threatening a new arms race amid fears in Russian Federation the USA would not renew the New START treaty that limits the development of nuclear weapons by both countries and is due to expire in 2021.

The geopolitical intelligence website Stratfor, earlier this year, had described hypersonic weapons as destabilizing. "He says the Trump administration's plan to scrap a treaty on medium-range missiles could lead to a new arms race".

Russia conducts successful test of Avangard hypersonic missile system

"Shorter reaction times and lack of adequate defenses will make preemptive strikes more attractive", according to Stratfor.

China has successfully tested the advanced S-400 air defence system imported from Russian Federation for which India also signed-up recently despite concerns over threat of sanctions from the US.

Meanwhile in December, US Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael D. Griffin told reporters the US could have a "workable defensive capability" against hypersonic weapons by the middle of the next decade.

Moscow's Avangard announcement came less than a month after Washington said it would stop adhering to a decades-old nuclear treaty in 60 days unless Russian Federation returns to compliance with it.

Putin's hopes for repairing ties with Washington under President Donald Trump have fizzled amid investigations into allegations of Trump's campaign ties with Russian Federation, and tensions have escalated as the USA administration slapped Russian Federation with new waves of sanctions.

"It's a big moment in the life of the armed forces and in the life of the country".

The intercontinental-range Avangard would not have been covered by the INF. "The list of Russia's infamous acts is long: Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, election meddling, Skripal and now the Kerch Strait, to name just a few".

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