Putin oversees test of new hypersonic super rocket

Vladimir Putin

Russia's new hypersonic missile system, which Moscow claims is "invulnerable" to the U.S. defences, will enter service in 2019, President Vladimir Putin said after conducting a test of the missile.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country is ready to launch its first hypersonic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

On Wednesday, Putin said that the system will be put into service next year, for which a special regiment will be formed within the Russian Strategic Missile Forces.

He said deployment of the glide vehicle, called Avangard and launched from intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), will begin next year.

While there was no immediate Pentagon comment on Putin's announcement Wednesday, a USA official expressed doubt to CNN about the weapon systems which Putin talked about in March, saying they were not close to operational. "The new Avangard system is impervious to current and future air defense and missile defense systems of a potential enemy", he noted.

Putin said in March that the Avangard has intercontinental ranges and can fly at 20 times the speed of sound. The Kremlin said it successfully hit a practice target on the Kura shooting range on Kamchatka, 6000 kilometres away.

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It is described as a hypersonic glide vehicle that flies 27 times faster than the speed of sound.

It comes amid strained relations between Russia and the U.S. and Europe, with tensions stoked by Ukraine, the Syrian war and allegations of Russian meddling in America's 2016 presidential election.

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.

The United States' Ground-Based Midcourse Defense missile defense system is officially created to protect against limited threats from countries like North Korea and is not created to negate Russian Federation or China's strategic deterrents.

So Putin announced two years later that Russian Federation was working on a new hypersonic weapon.

"I congratulate you on this big event in the life of the Armed Forces and in ensuring the security of the Russian state", the Russian leader said. This new live fire test, which resulted in a planned strike on a missile testing range in eastern Russian Federation, is the first decent footage we've seen of the system in action.

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