Vladimir Putin’s Russia isn’t only assaulting the world with their election meddling antics and deadly diplomatic dirges, but also in a very real, tangible way.
Obviously, there is the Russian incursion into Ukraine to take into consideration, with nearly 15,000 Ukrainians having been killed by Russian forces over the course of the last few years. This appears to be the first step in Putin’s plan to reconstitute as much of the old Soviet Union as possible, whether that be by force or by negotiation.
But there is far more to the Russian game plan than merely annexing small, poor European countries. Putin has to deal with the United States as well, and to do that he is pushing the moral and technical boundaries of military weaponry. His nation’s latest creation is simply terrifying.
President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia has got a strong edge in designing new weapons and that it has become the only country in the world to deploy hypersonic weapons.
Speaking at a meeting with top military brass, Putin said that for the first time in history Russia is now leading the world in developing an entire new class of weapons unlike in the past when it was catching up with the United States.
And just how scary are these weapons?
The Kinzhal, which is carried by MiG-31 fighter jets, entered service with the Russian air force last year. Putin has said that the missile flies 10 times faster than the speed of sound, has a range of more than 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) and can carry a nuclear or a conventional warhead. The military said it’s capable of hitting both land targets and navy ships.
The next generation of weapons will build on this as well.
The Russian leader first mentioned the Avangard and the Kinzhal among other prospective weapons systems in his state-of-the-nation address in March 2018.
Putin said then that the Avangard has an intercontinental range and can fly in the atmosphere at a speed 20 times the speed of sound. He noted that the weapon’s ability to change both its course and its altitude en route to a target makes it immune to interception by the the enemy.
“It’s a weapon of the future, capable of penetrating both existing and prospective missile defense systems,” Putin said Tuesday.
The United States has not yet revealed any hypersonic weapons of their own, leading some to wonder if Putin’s forthcoming nature is a ruse to get the US to show their hand.
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