Russia says first Avangard hypersonic missile enters service

Russian defense minister Sergey Shoygu told President Vladimir Putin on Friday that the country’s first Avangard hypersonic missiles have been put into service, an official statement said.

Russian officials say the missile is highly maneuverable and reached the speed of Mach 27, or roughly 33,000 km (20,500 miles) per hour, during tests.

Mach 1 is a unit of measurement equivalent to the speed of sound.

“The first missile regiment equipped with latest strategic missiles with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle entered service at 10 a.m. Moscow time on December 27,” the defense ministry said, according to Russian news agencies.

No other details were immediately provided but defence officials have said that the first Avangard regiment is based in the Orenburg region in the Urals.

A defense ministry spokesman declined immediate comment.

Moscow has said it showed U.S. arms inspectors the Avangard missiles in November.

Putin unveiled images of the new weapon during his state of the nation address in 2018, saying it would defeat all existing missile defense systems.

Russia has boasted of developing a number of “invincible” weapons that surpass existing systems and include Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles.

This week Putin said that Russia was no longer playing a game of catch-up with the West on weapons development.

“This is a unique situation in our modern history: they are playing catch-up with us,” he said.

Russia has adapted 10 MiG-31 fighter jets to test Kinzhal hypersonic missile, minister says

With reporting from AFP

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