| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Russia leads the world in hypersonic missiles tech, Putin says

Russia is the world leader in hypersonic missiles and, by the time other nations catch up, President Vladimir Putin believes Russia will have created technologies to resist these new weapons.

When it comes to the amount of warheads and their carriers, Russia and the United States are roughly equal, Putin said in comments shown on Sunday as part of a documentary film titled “Russia. New History.”

“But in terms of sophisticated advancements, we are unquestionably the leaders,” Putin said, adding that Russia is also the global leader in terms of the size of upgrades to its classic weapons.

Other international powers, according to the president, will have similar hypersonic weapon capabilities in the future.

“When they have this weapon, they will almost certainly have the tools to combat it.”

Last month, Putin stated that testing of Russia’s Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is approaching completion, and that delivery to the navy will begin in 2022.

While acknowledging that the combination of speed, maneuverability, and altitude of hypersonic missiles makes them difficult to detect and intercept, several Western scientists have questioned how advanced Russia’s new generation of weaponry is.

In the high atmosphere, they fly at more than five times the speed of sound, or around 6,200 kilometers per hour (3,850 mph). Although it is slower than an intercontinental ballistic missile, the form of a hypersonic glide vehicle allows it to maneuver toward or away from defenses.

Moscow’s military budget is far smaller than Washington’s. In 2020, Russia spent $62 billion on military expenditures, compared to $778 billion spent by the United States, according to the World Bank data.

Last month, US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told Reuters that the US and China were engaging in an arms race to produce the most dangerous hypersonic weapons.

General Mark Milley, the senior U.S. military official, verified a Chinese hypersonic weapons test in October, which military analysts believe looks to illustrate Beijing’s pursuit of an Earth-orbiting system meant to elude American missile defenses.

Putin discussed Russia’s military prowess in the same documentary film where he bemoaned the Soviet Union’s disintegration three decades ago as the end of what he called “historical Russia.”

  • Reuters