The first missiles equipped with the Avangard hypersonic glider enter service in Russia

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the first two UR-100N UTTKh intercontinental missiles equipped with Avangard hypersonic glider will enter service in the coming days, and assume an experimental operational posture from December 2019. According to the planning revealed by Moscow, the Avangard is intended to equip two regiments with intercontinental ballistic missiles, each regiment implementing 6 of these weapons. At the same time, the Avangard system was officially presented to American experts within the framework of the New Start treaty, which has now been called into question by the American administration.

The Avangard is the third system presented by Vladimir Putin in 2018, during the presidential campaign, to enter service, after the Kinzhal airborne hypersonic missile and the Sarmat mobile intercontinental ballistic missile. The entry into service of Burevestnik nuclear-powered supersonic cruise missile is not confirmed, while that of the Status-6 Poseidon nuclear-powered transoceanic torpedo is only planned for 2021. It makes it possible to maintain high hypersonic flight until the impact or nuclear explosion, with a maintained speed of Mach 20 in the lower layers of the atmosphere, while maintaining a capacity of maneuver, making its interception virtually impossible given the state of existing anti-ballistic technologies.

The Russian Navy's Borei class SSBN uses 16 Boulava missiles Defense News | Hypersonic weapons and missiles | Nuclear weapons
The new Russian Borei nuclear ballistic missile submarines use 16 intercontinental Bulava missiles (20 for the Borei A submarines)

The Russian strategic forces have (official figures 2017) 528 nuclear vectors, carrying around 1800 nuclear warheads, including 286 land-launched ballistic missiles equipped with 958 warheads, 160 ballistic missiles launched from 12 nuclear ballistic missile submarines equipped with 752 warheads, and 60 strategic bombers with 200 nuclear bombs. All components are today currently being modernized, with the Sarmat missile and the Avangard for the land systems, the Borei submarines and the Bulava missile for the submarine component, and the modernization of the Tu-160 to the Tu-160M ​​standard and the order of new devices for the strategic air component. In addition, new systems, such as the Burevestnik missile, the Kinzhal missile, and the Poseidon torpedo are in the deployment or testing phase, to increase the scope of strategic solutions available to the country. For comparison, the United States would have 1750 nuclear warheads, of which 1300 equip nuclear missiles, 300 for strategic bombers and 150 tactical warheads for fighter-bombers.

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