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Russia's hypersonic weapon is now operational

By T.K. Randall
January 1, 2020 · Comment icon 21 comments

Putin will no doubt be pleased with how things are progressing. Image Credit: CC BY 4.0
According to reports, Russia's ambitious new Avangard hypersonic weapon system is now up and running.
Originally announced by Putin back in March 2018, Avangard, which can propel missiles at speeds of up to Mach 27, has been billed as the first operational hypersonic weapons system in the world.

Unlike regular intercontinental ballistic missiles which propel their payloads into low-Earth orbit, Russia's new hypersonic missiles reach a mere 62 miles above the planet's surface, effectively bypassing America's ballistic missile defense systems which are designed to target the former.

The first batch of Avangard-equipped missiles reportedly came online at a base near Orenburg this week and there are plans to roll them out elsewhere in the near future.
While this all might sound rather alarming however, very little has actually changed.

The new missiles are primarily intended to take out American missile defense systems in the event of a nuclear exchange, they aren't meant to be used as first-strike weapons.

If Russia did launch a nuclear attack on the US, its hypersonic missiles wouldn't stop it from being reciprocally obliterated by America's arsenal of conventional nuclear weapons.

In other words, the chances of a nuclear war are pretty much the same as they were before.

Source: Popular Mechanics | Comments (21)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by Manwon Lender 4 years ago
Nothing much it still doesn't stop Nuclear proliferation.  Peace
Comment icon #13 Posted by Troublehalf 4 years ago
Hypersonic missiles are great; but it doesn't revolutionise anything really. Now, if missile defence systems were 98% effective at the moment and this hypersonic missile nullified this... it would be a problem. But as it is, missile defence systems have a scarily low success rate in doing their job. That's in use for nuclear warheads. In terms of sinking aircraft carriers? Very useful. I'm not sure of a full carrier fleets missile defence net success rate, but I suspect it isn't good enough to stop hypersonics missiles. However, Russia makes lots of claims to put the wind up the West and a lot... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by joc 4 years ago
I think they are as well. 
Comment icon #15 Posted by and then 4 years ago Kuznetsov had a fire that basically gutted it.  Over a billion in repairs needed.  If you know of any currently operating Russian carriers, feel free to post a link.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Jon the frog 4 years ago
With the missile defense system... more and more it was not the case anymore. That weapon bypass it and they are back to square one.
Comment icon #17 Posted by DanL 4 years ago
There IS no defense if we were to have a nuclear holocaust. The speed of delivery is irrelevant. We reached saturation 35 years ago. That means that we would kill most of the people on the entire planet if we were to detonate our missiles IN THEIR silos. The defense for many many years has been the mutually assured destruction that eliminated the possibility of any winner. To launch, whether sub or super sonically is suicide for the entire world.
Comment icon #18 Posted by RabidMongoose 4 years ago
This missile is an upgraded Sarmat ICBM. It can travel at Mach 20-27 (which is very impressive), and is highly manoeuvrable. The downside is it carries a single warhead ranging from 800 kilotons up to 2 megatons in yield. That means it isn't strictly speaking a city killer, its for devastating military installations and bases instead.  This is only for knocking out an enemies ability to wage war, and retaliate with nuclear weapons. Traditional ICBMs with their MIRVs and decoys are for mass nuclear genocide instead. The USA is working on its own hypersonic re-entry vehicles but it seems the Ru... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by RabidMongoose 4 years ago
I dont because Russia doesnt have the money to compete for full spectrum dominance. Therefore, it places more importance on keeping its MAD abilities up to date.
Comment icon #20 Posted by joc 4 years ago
Do you think (I'm really asking your opinion here, honestly) there is any correlation between Russia announcing their Hypersonic deployments the day after Christmas and the attack on the US Emabassy by the Iranians?   If Russia really has this capability...are they attempting to start WWIII and wipe out all the players instantly?  
Comment icon #21 Posted by Rolci 4 years ago
Yes, by all means, you will be the first to know! If someone wants to "wipe out all the players instantsly", do you honestly believe that they are going to make announcements first?

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