Kinzhal, S500, T14, Su57 ... In 2025, Russia could take the military technological advantage over Europe

According to TASS agency, the Su-57 fighter will be equipped with a missile with performances comparable to those of the Kinjal hypersonic missile. This is further proof of the dynamism of the Russian defense industry, and the growing gap it is widening with Western industry. 

Since the beginning of 2018, and the announcements made by President Putin during the presidential campaign regarding new weapons systems developed by the Russian arms industry, the announcements have multiplied, to the point of threatening what all European capitals took, and still take, for granted: the technological superiority of Western armies.

During this conference, the Russian president presented several weapon systems under development: The Kinjal hypersonic missile, the Status-6 Kanyon transoceanic drone torpedo, the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, the Sarmat intercontinental strategic missile and the hypersonic glider Avangard.

Artist's impression of the Russian Avangard hypersonic glider Defense Analysis | Hypersonic weapons and missiles | Fighter aircraft
artist's impression of the Avangard hypersonic glider

The announcements had the effect of a hammer blow in the West, but doubts remained about the reality of these developments, and their timetables. Since then, things have become much clearer:

  • The Kinjal hypersonic missile, reaching mach 6 and a range of more than 2000 km, is already in service. It is carried by specially modified Mig31s, and will soon be adapted for Tu22M3M naval strategic bombers. With such a range, the Kinjal can reach all of NATO's strategic nodes east of the London-Paris axis, without the carrier needing to penetrate European airspace.
  • The Burevestnik cruise missile, capable of flying at high supersonic speed over a distance exceeding the Earth's circumference, has also entered service, according to an analysis of the laws promulgated this summer in Russia.
  • The entry into service of the Avangard hypersonic glider is planned for 2019. This glider retains a very significant capacity to maneuver in the atmospheric re-entry phase at hypersonic speed, making it both very precise and very difficult to intercept.
  • The SARMAT ICBM missile will enter service in 2021, and will gradually replace the SATAN missiles.
  • The status of the Kanyon drone torpedo remains more confidential, but some information indicates that tests have already begun, and that entry into service is planned before 2025.
poseidon Defense Analysis | Hypersonic weapons and missiles | Fighter aircraft
animation of the launch of the Poseidon / Kanyon drone torpedo

In addition to these strategic weapons, capable of carrying a nuclear charge, there are numerous conventional weapons which, although not discussed by President Putin, will significantly strengthen Russian military capabilities, including:

  • The S-500 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system, which will initially replace the S-300s in their anti-ballistic missions, then reinforce the S400 across the entire anti-aircraft and access denial spectrum
  • The Zircon hypersonic anti-ship missile, whose tests from naval and underwater platforms will begin in 2019
  • The air-to-air missile R37M with a range of 300 km, designed to eliminate NATO tankers and Awacs, is due to enter service as early as 2019
  • The T14 Armata battle tank, the first examples of which will arrive in Russian units in 2019
  • The “57th generation” Su5 fighter, which will enter service from 2020
  • The Perevest laser anti-drone protection system, already in service
  • The Okhotnik heavy combat drone, whose first flight will take place in 2019

Finally, numerous new generation equipment with greatly expanded performance are or will very soon enter service, such as the SOSSN short-range anti-aircraft defense system, the Poliment-redut naval area defense and access denial system, the 2S35 Koalitsya self-propelled artillery system, or the Iassen and Lada submarines. 

The Russian SOSSN SA24 short-range anti-aircraft defense system which will replace the SA13 Gopher systems Defense Analyzes | Hypersonic weapons and missiles | Fighter aircraft
The SOSSN close defense system

All of this equipment has comparable performance, or even, for some, superior to the best equipment in operation or soon in operation in Western armies. Other programs are under development, such as the new generation strategic bomber PAK-FA, a high-speed combat helicopter, a 2,2 petaflop mobile supercomputer, and the hypothetical short and vertical landing and takeoff fighter and hypersonic fighters.

The entry into service of this equipment will obviously be gradual, and the Russian forces will remain equipped for a long time with very largely modernized versions of weapon systems inherited from the Soviet era, such as the Su30/34/35 fighters and the T72B3M tanks. , T90M, the TOR, BUK and S300/400 anti-aircraft systems or the 636.3 Improved Kilo submarines. 

Russian T90M Defense Analysis | Hypersonic weapons and missiles | Fighter aircraft
T90M battle tank being supplied to Russian forces

However, the entry into service of these new systems, even in small numbers, will give, for the first time since the appearance of the MIG15 in Korean skies, technological ascendancy to Russian forces over Western forces, and especially over the European forces, which today remain constrained by a failing economic vision of those in power.

Russia's strength in this area, beyond a strong political will, even in lean times (like between 2013 and 2017 when the barrel of oil was less than $40), is based on a pragmatic and redundant operation of the majority of equipment in service and in production (Su30 vs Su35, T14 vs T90M, S500 vs S400 etc.), small series production intended to evaluate the operational performance of the equipment, and tiling of programs, to smooth technological disruptions.

This is how Russia, despite its GDP being 30% lower than that of France, manages to match and even exceed, by 2025, the military power of the European Union, both from a technological point of view and operational.

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