President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia has got a strong edge in designing new weapons and that it has become the only country in the world to deploy hypersonic weapons, the AP reports. Speaking at a meeting with top military brass, Putin said that for the first time in history Russia is now leading the world in developing an entire new class of weapons unlike in the past when it was catching up with the United States. The Russian leader noted that during Cold War times, the Soviet Union was behind the US in designing the atomic bomb and building strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles. "Now we have a situation that is unique in modern history when they are trying to catch up to us," he said. "Not a single country has hypersonic weapons."
The Pentagon and the US military services have been working on the development of hypersonic weapons in recent years, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in August that he believes "it's probably a matter of a couple of years" before the US has one. Putin said the first unit equipped with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle is set to go on duty this month, while the air-launched Kinzhal hypersonic missiles already have entered service. Back in 2018, Putin said the Avangard has an intercontinental range and can fly in the atmosphere at a speed 20 times the speed of sound. He noted that the weapon's ability to change both its course and its altitude en route to a target makes it immune to interception by the the enemy. "It's a weapon of the future," he said Tuesday.
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