Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasized the importance of new weapons by urging the country’s arms manufacturers to develop even more advanced hypersonic missiles and high-energy lasers.
“It’s particularly important to develop technologies for creating new hypersonic weapons, high-energy lasers and robotic complexes that would be capable of efficiently countering potential military threats and further strengthen the country’s security,” Putin told Russian officials in a meeting with Defense Ministry high-level officials and heads of defense industry on Wednesday, Nov. 3.
He called the new weapons, such as the Avangard and Kinzhal hypersonic weapons and the Peresvet laser system, a “breakthrough” that “ensured Russia’s military security for many years and even decades,” The Associated Press reported.
According to Russian military, the Kinzhal, carried by MiG-31 fighter jets, has a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,250 miles) and can fly at 10 times higher than the speed of sound.
The Avangard is reportedly capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound and making sharp maneuvers on its way to the target to dodge the enemy’s missile shield. It has been fitted to the existing intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Putin added that they have been testing another hypersonic missile, Zircon, which would be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles). Russia intends to equip it to cruisers, frigates and submarines and will commission the navy next year.
He urged Russian arms makers to keep working on other cutting-edge weapons.
Russia has made modernization of the military a top priority as the country’s relations with the U.S. and other Western nations have sunk to post-Cold War lows after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
Russia’s new moves come as the U.S. Army on Thursday successfully tested a booster rocket motor designed to power a launch vehicle carrying a hypersonic weapon aloft.
The new tests were conducted after the Pentagon tested a booster rocket in October at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska but failed and reviewed the test to understand the cause of the failure.
In October, China had also tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide weapon that flew around the earth’s low orbit before returning to earth toward a target it ultimately missed.
With the participation of China, Russia and the U.S., the hypersonic arms race has shown a broad interest from global superpowers.