Russia has taken another significant step in its pursuit of hypersonic weapons technology. The country’s rocket forces have recently loaded a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, equipped with the “Avangard” hypersonic glide vehicle, into a launch silo in southern Russia. This move further solidifies Russia’s position as a major player in the development of advanced weapons systems.
The Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle was announced by President Vladimir Putin in 2018 as a direct response to the United States’ development of new weapons and a missile defense system. It is a game-changing technology that is capable of detaching from the rocket and maneuvering at hypersonic speeds. With a velocity of up to 27 times the speed of sound, it represents a significant advancement in weaponry.
Footage from the Russian defense ministry’s ‘Zvezda’ television channel showcased the intricate process of transporting the ballistic missile, raising it into position, and finally lowering it into a shaft in the Orenburg region near Kazakhstan. This location is not unfamiliar with such weapons, as Russia had already installed its first Avangard-equipped missile in 2019.
The development of hypersonic weapons systems has become a focal point for both Russia and the United States, as they seek to maintain their military supremacy. While both nations have expressed regret over the deterioration of arms-control treaties, they continue to forge ahead with the development of these advanced weapons technologies.
For the United States, China is seen as its biggest competitor, while Russia is regarded as its biggest nation-state threat. Russia, on the other hand, argues that the dominance of the United States, which emerged following the Cold War, is crumbling. Moscow accuses Washington of causing chaos while ignoring the interests of other major powers.
As the pursuit of hypersonic weapons continues, the global balance of power in the military arena is undoubtedly shifting. Russia’s latest achievement in loading a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with the Avangard glide vehicle demonstrates its commitment to maintaining its status as a leader in advanced weaponry. With both Russia and the United States deepening their investments in hypersonic technologies, the world may soon witness a new era in military capabilities.