This post first appeared on Russia Insider
Russia's new Avangard (Fr. "Avant-garde") missile system is a technological wonder. Scientists and engineers managed to overcome a number of technological hurdles, like how to keep a vehicle from disintegrating while traveling at mach-20, with temperatures reaching 3000 degrees Celsius.
In light of the US' withdrawal from the INF treaty, this is a big development.
It is also alarming, because Sunday evening Dmitry Kiselyov, TV personality and Kremlin confidant, listed Russian targets inside the US, including the Pentagon and Camp David, Maryland.
Komsomolskaya Pravda Editor in Chief Vladimir Sungorkin: Mr President, you have compared the Avangard system with the first near-Earth satellite today.
Does this not seem to be an overstatement because the first satellite is a far cry from the Avangard system?
What happened? Why did you use such a powerful comparison?
President Vladimir Putin: I see, thank you for your question.
As you can see, I have made a reservation.
This system absolutely compares with the first near-Earth satellite in terms of maintaining our security.
I will explain.
The launch of the first space satellite implied, in terms of ensuring security, that the Soviet Union had received systems, or ballistic missiles, for delivering nuclear warheads to the territory of the potential enemy.
In effect, that launch ushered in an entire missile programme.
Of course, that programme had been developing before that event, but, in effect, it began with that launch.
This implies ballistic missiles.
But our American friends invented the anti-ballistic missile defence system to safeguard against these ballistic missiles.
Therefore, we had to provide an adequate, asymmetrical but serious response. What kind of a response is this?
The Avangard system is our response.
A winged glider vehicle moves at Mach 20-plus inside dense atmospheric layers; it was difficult to imagine this in the past.
In terms of our defense capability, this amounts to the same landmark achievement as the launch of the first space satellite.
This is because that launch implied ballistic missiles, and we are now talking about a new strategic weapons system that moves along a flat trajectory inside dense atmospheric layers.
This is another delivery vehicle?
Yes, of course, this amounts to another delivery vehicle. But this is an absolute breakthrough in terms of modern technologies and materials.
This winged glider vehicle’s nose section heats up to almost 3,000 degrees Celsius. Can you imagine this? What does 3,000 degrees feel like?
The Sun’s surface heats up to 6,000 degrees, and here we are talking about 3,000 degrees.
I have already mentioned the chocolate-coated ice cream effect, when the vehicle flies along and melts away as it goes.
It is coated with a plasma layer, and its sides heat up to 1,900–2,000 degrees. At the same time, the vehicle is controlled accordingly.
You know, when I attended the latest tests and when I watched them, the operator said “Acknowledge message” which means that the vehicle had hit the bull’s eye, the target.
The Russian science, engineering school and defense sector have scored an amazing success. Indeed, this is absolutely tremendous.
Therefore, a comparison with the first near-Earth satellite is quite adequate and appropriate.
Now, let's discuss the military part of the address. Experts are commenting on the most advanced weapons which the president spoke about yesterday, such as Zircon the hypersonic missile.
Elizaveta Khramtsova has the details of its combat specifications.
It's like a knife through butter. That's how experts describe the capacities of the new Russian hypersonic system Zircon. It'll outperform any anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system of a potential adversary. The high-precision cruise missile Zircon will have a range of over 600 miles. Its hypersonic speed of Mach 9 is also impressive. The Zircon will pose a treat not only to the intermediate-range missiles deployed in Europe; it'll help destroy the key elements of the control system of their decision-making units which are located outside of the European continent.
Vsevolod Khmyrov, Rear Admiral (Retired): "Given the fact that the missile systems belong to the Americans, it's clear that they'll be controlled from the decision-making units located in the territory of the American continent."
This type of weapons plays a special role, given the situation with the INF Treaty, which Washington decided to ruin. If the treaty is terminated, the American partners will be able to deploy shock troops onto the European continent. In the framework of the American anti-missile defense system, Aegis Ashore systems with MK 41 systems have already been deployed in Romania. The same systems will be in Poland soon. Not only defense missiles but also strike Tomahawks with a range of 1,500 miles can be launched from them.
The experts stress that the Zircon can destroy the Pentagon's illusion that in the case of an escalation, American servicemen will be safe. Anti-missile defense systems won't help the opponent.
Vsevolod Khmyrov: “If a vehicle carrying Zircon missiles is 300 miles away from the coastline, it'll take the missiles five minutes to reach the targets in the coastal zone at a distance under 300 miles. What can be done during this period of time? At best, one can detect the missiles flying to the target but not intercept them. A hypersonic system as such as the Zircon practically pierces any anti-missile and anti-aircraft defense system. There's no defense against it.”
The number of Zircons which can be put in service leaves no doubt that decision-making units will be destroyed. According to experts, there can be 2-3 surface ships and submarines carrying Zircons which are on combat duty in the Western Atlantic Ocean or the Eastern Pacific Ocean on each direction. Each vessel can carry about 40 missiles.
Vladimir Putin mentioned the projects to create a promising novelty in his previous address to the Federal Assembly. The president stressed that today, the work on the hypersonic missile Zircon is successfully progressing according to schedule. The new missile is supposed to be launched from sea-based carriers, follow-on surface ships, and submarines. Some of them either have already been made or being made to carry the high-precision missile system Kalibr. This means that the development of the new type of weapons won't affect the budget.
The sea-based system Poseidon also undermines all of the Pentagon's efforts to create a naval anti-missile defense system. The president also mentioned this system in his address. The system is automated and compact. The unmanned underwater apparatuses of Poseidon are extremely hard to detect and harder to intercept. Vladimir Putin noted that the first nuclear submarine carrying the Poseidon unmanned vehicle will be launched this spring.
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