During a meeting last week the Russian Ministry of Defense announced it will purchase additional hypersonic and precision long-range weapons, state news agency TASS reported.
The development and commissioning of these weapons is the Kremlin’s “top ongoing priority” and being closely overseen by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.
According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu, Putin is highly concerned about the procurement of sophisticated weapons such as these. Shoygu will report to him on the matter in April to discuss sources of funding for additional weapons procurement and production capacity.
— TASS (@tassagency_en) February 9, 2021
The announcement builds upon Russia’s long-sustained efforts to make a mark in the race for hypersonic arms.
At his state-of-the-nation address in 2018, Putin promised “a new generation of missiles,” unveiling a trove of sophisticated new systems as the Kinzhal ballistic missile, Avangard boost-glide vehicle, and Zircon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile. Some, such as the Kinzal and Vanguard, have already reached deployment.
Russia has also conducted a series of recent hypersonic missile tests. On Putin’s 68th birthday last year, the Russian Navy successfully test-fired a Zircon missile in the White Sea, striking a target 450 kilometers (280 miles) away.
However, Russia is not alone in the race for hypersonic weapons technology. A number of other countries, such as the United States, seek to leverage hypersonic defense technology. The US has been working on a series of long-range hypersonic weapons programs across all branches of the military, aiming for deployment by the mid-2020s.