Russia’s defense minister on Friday declared that Avangard, a new hypersonic weapon capable of striking the United States, is ready for war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed with the new weapon Russia is leading the world in weapon development for the first time. The U.S. does not have a defense against hypersonic weapons, which can travel at least five times the speed of sound. These weapons are difficult to track, target and defeat. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a conference call with Russian military leaders that the first missile unit equipped with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle entered combat duty.
In March 2018, the Russian leader claimed the hypersonic weapon is capable of reaching targets at 20 times the speed of sound and that it could strike “like a fireball.” Another new weapon, the air-to-ground hypersonic missile dubbed “Kinzhal,” which will join the Kremlin’s arsenal as early as 2020, has been tested at least three times. The Pentagon has several hypersonic weapons programs in development, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in August that it will be “a couple of years” before the U.S. can deploy a weapon of this caliber.