Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country has made a breakthrough in designing new weapons, which are years or even decades ahead of its rival countries.
Addressing the graduates of Russian military academies in the Kremlin on Thursday, the president said that the modern weapons represent a quantum leap in the Russian military capability, the Associated Press reported.
“A number of our weapons systems are years, and, perhaps, decades ahead of foreign analogues,” Putin said. “Modern weapons contribute to a multifold increase in the Russian military potential.”
Putin singled out the new Avangard hyper-sonic vehicle, which has an intercontinental range and can fly in the atmosphere at a speed 20 times the speed of sound. The weapon, which can change both its course and its altitude en route to a target, is “absolutely invulnerable to any air or missile defense means,” Putin explained.
He also mentioned a new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which is set to replace Russia’s Soviet-designed Voyevoda – the world’s heaviest ICBM, which is known as “Satan” in the West and which carries 10 nuclear warheads. Putin noted that Sarmat carries a bigger number of nuclear warheads, which are more powerful than the ones on Satan.
Weighing 200 metric tons (220 tons), the Sarmat is capable of flying over the North or the South Poles and strike targets anywhere in the world, Putin explained earlier in March, when he presented an array of new nuclear weapons.
Among the weapons he mentioned on Thursday was also the Kinzhal hyper-sonic missile that has already been put on duty with the units of Russia’s Southern Military District.
Putin made the remarks as Russia’s longtime adversary, the United States, is worried that if North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had to head off a conflict with Russia, it could get stuck in a traffic jam, The Washington Post said in a Sunday report.
“We have to be able to move as fast or faster than Russia in order to be an effective deterrent,” the Post quoted Ben Hodges, the US Army’s former top general in Europe as saying.
Washington has long been pressing its European allies to get more NATO warplanes, ships and battalions ready for a possible combat. NATO leaders, however, are just beginning to address the underlying issues, such as funding for infrastructure and bureaucratic roadblocks.
For years after NATO’s 2004 expansion into the territory that had once been the Soviet Union’s, the US-led military alliance had no plans for how to defend its new members, according to a retired US Army general and former US ambassador to NATO, Douglas Lute.
The NATO members are getting prepared for a mid-July summit in Brussels, where they are expected to approve a new plan that would speed transit from the East Coast of the United States all the way to NATO’s border with Russia.
This, however, would be a challenge for European governments, who have come under pressure by US President Donald Trump to increase military spending to solve the long-running problems – which even still will take years to eliminate.
Trump and Putin are also expected to meet on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.