Russia’s new strategic weapon has rendered any missile defenses useless at a small fraction of their cost, officials said Thursday.
The Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle flies 27 times faster than the speed of sound, making it impossible to intercept, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told Russian state television.
The new weapon “essentially makes missile defenses useless”, he said.
Borisov spoke a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw what he described as the conclusive successful test of the Avangard and hailed it as a reliable guarantee of Russia’s security for decades to come.
In Wednesday’s test, the weapon was launched from the Dombarovskiy missile base in the southern Ural Mountains. The Kremlin said it successfully hit a practice target on the Kura shooting range on Kamchatka, 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) away.
The Defense Ministry released footage from the test launch, in which a ballistic missile could be seen blasting from a silo in a cloud of smoke, but it hasn’t released any images of the vehicle itself.
Putin said the Avangard will enter service with the Russian Strategic Missile Forces next year.
The test comes amid bitter tensions in Russia-U.S. relations, which have been strained over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and the allegations of Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
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