CNBC reported that Russia had hit a snag in its development of its hypersonic weapon, because it was at the time unable to find a source for the critical carbon fiber components. 

The National Interest news agency stated that the Pentagon had doubts that the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) existed. Some believe that Russia’s new super weapons are “virtual reality,” while others think they are “mostly hype.

But history has shown that those who believed it to be just a bluff have been proven totally wrong. The Russians have electronic warfare weapons that Western countries have no defense against. Last year the US Navy had to ground their entire naval fleet.

However in March, a research scientist for the Center for Naval Analyses and a highly respected analyst, Michael Kofman offered his assurances that there was no chance Russia could field its hypervelocity boost-glide weapon by 2019.

But the Avangard hypersonic boost-glide system, one of the new super weapons that President Putin mentioned in his address to the Federal Assembly in March, went into production last summer and will be operational with the 13th Strategic Missile Forces division by the end of 2019.

Normally it takes two systems for a regiment to be combat ready by that time, but in this case that number will be increased to six. At least two regiments with six systems each are expected to be battle-ready by 2027.

The boost-glide weapon can fly at speeds of over Mach 20 or about 15,300 miles per hour (four miles per second). It could reach Washington in 15 minutes even if launched from Russia.

There is no way to intercept it, as it moves in a cloud of plasma “like a meteorite.” 

The weapon is distinctive for its ability to withstand extreme heat during the final phase of its trajectory thanks to its heat-resistant titanium casing. Its in-flight temperature reaches 1,600-2,000° Celsius.

It is impossible to predict the direction of its approach. It can make rapid course changes in the atmosphere.  Its signatures are quite different from those of traditional ICBMs.

The Avangard is the first HGV in the world to have gone into production, as well as the first to travel at great altitude in the dense layers of the atmosphere while deftly maneuvering towards its target.

According to General John Hyten, head of US Strategic Command, “We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us.”  The USA will have to play catch-up.

The tempo of the glide vehicle’s deployment and modernization can be expedited depending on the progress of the talks with the USA on strategic nuclear arms.  Since its trajectory renders the Avangard immune to missile-defense systems.

The HGV will become a powerful argument that can be wielded at that round table.

Russia Insider / ABC Flash Point Military Innovation News 2018.

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