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2 Mar, 2020 10:43

Changing fortunes: US now races to CATCH UP with Russia on hypersonic weapons – Putin

Changing fortunes: US now races to CATCH UP with Russia on hypersonic weapons – Putin

Since the Cold War-era, Moscow has always played catch up with American military technological prowess. However, its newest hypersonic weapons have turned the tide for the first time in modern history, Vladimir Putin believes.

Back in the day, the Americans were the first to make a nuclear bomb, build a strategic aircraft able to carry it, and develop ballistic missiles, leaving the USSR eating dust. This left Moscow always playing second fiddle, the Russian president pointed out in the latest episode of news agency TASS' series '20 Questions to Vladimir Putin’.

“We always had to catch up to our strategic weapons competitors,” he acknowledged. Now, this is no longer the case.

“We have a unique situation now,” Putin said, adding that “for the first time, we have created such offensive strike systems which the world has never seen.” Now, Moscow has taken the lead by designing an array of hypersonic projectiles said to have some unparalleled properties, which is “a first for today’s Russia.”

Now they are chasing after us, trying to catch up.

Keeping pace with the world’s most powerful armed forces has helped preserve peace on the planet, the Russian president said. “Due to this strategic balance, the planet has avoided major military conflicts after World War II.”

The US tried to upset that balance by building ballistic missile shields on American soil and overseas, most notably in Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Their rationale was based on the belief that “the other side wouldn’t be able to respond adequately if they use nuclear weapons,” Putin explained.

However, after having developed these modern [hypersonic] systems, including those which easily evade any anti-missile ballistic system, we maintain this strategic stability and strategic balance. It is essential not only for us, but also for global security.

Putin made similar remarks in late 2019, when he revealed that the Russian military is already taking deliveries of the shorter Kinzhal (dagger) air-launched hypersonic missiles, and the secretive silo-based Avangard gliders are undergoing trials.

The latter can reportedly reach Mach 27 without losing control or integrity under extreme heat and pressure. Work is also underway on the ground-launched version of the Zircon hypersonic missile, previously only intended to be placed on surface ships.

Russia is so far the only nation that currently deploys hypersonic weapons. According to Putin, Russian engineers are also designing systems to protect against these weapons should any adversary develop them. 

Also on rt.com ‘Today THEY are trying to catch up’: Putin says Russia surpasses all competitors in advanced weapons for the first time

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