During his annual address to the Russian parliament, Russian President Vladimir Putin talked about Russia’s strategic weapons “in response to the unilateral withdrawal of the United States of America from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the practical deployment of their missile defence systems both in the US and beyond their national borders.”
Putin said that in the past years after US withdraw from ABM Treaty in early 2000s, Russia has been “working intensively on advanced equipment and arms, which allowed us to make a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons.”
“Russia has developed, and works continuously to perfect, highly effective but modestly priced systems to overcome missile defence. They are installed on all of our intercontinental ballistic missile complexes,” he said.
He added that Russia also embarked on developing “the next generation of missiles. For example, the Defence Ministry and enterprises of the missile and aerospace industry are in the active phase of testing a new missile system with a heavy intercontinental missile. We called it Sarmat.”
“Weighing over 200 tonnes, it has a short boost phase, which makes it more difficult to intercept for missile defence systems. The range of the new heavy missile, the number and power of its combat blocs is bigger than Voevoda’s. Sarmat will be equipped with a broad range of powerful nuclear warheads, including hypersonic, and the most modern means of evading missile defence. The high degree of protection of missile launchers and significant energy capabilities the system offers will make it possible to use it in any conditions,” he explained. “Voevoda’s range is 11,000 km while Sarmat has practically no range restrictions.”
Sarmat is replacing Voevoda with a range of 11,000 km. He said Sarmat has “practically no range restrictions.”
“But we did not stop at that. We started to develop new types of strategic arms that do not use ballistic trajectories at all when moving toward a target and, therefore, missile defence systems are useless against them, absolutely pointless,” Putin said.
“One of them is a small-scale heavy-duty nuclear energy unit that can be installed in a missile like our latest X-101 air-launched missile or the American Tomahawk missile – a similar type but with a range dozens of times longer, dozens, basically an unlimited range. It is a low-flying stealth missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with almost an unlimited range, unpredictable trajectory and ability to bypass interception boundaries. It is invincible against all existing and prospective missile defence and counter-air defence systems,” he said.
However, the Russian leader, introducing the Avangard, said “a real technological breakthrough is the development of a strategic missile system with fundamentally new combat equipment – a gliding wing unit, which has also been successfully tested.”
“Unlike existing types of combat equipment, this system is capable of intercontinental flight at supersonic speeds in excess of Mach 20,” he said.
“As I said in 2004, in moving to its target, the missile’s gliding cruise bloc engages in intensive manoeuvring – both lateral (by several thousand km) and vertical. This is what makes it absolutely invulnerable to any air or missile defence system,” he said. “It flies to its target like a meteorite, like a ball of fire.”