In what appears to be a show of strength to the US-led NATO, Russia is going full throttle in readying its Strategic Missile Force. The latest development is the addition of the Avangard hypersonic missile.
The Commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, Sergey Karakayev, announced that the Avangard missile system would enter service with the missile regiment of the Yasny military formation on December 17, state news agency TASS reported.
“Another missile regiment will be introduced into service in the Yasny military formation for the anniversary of our Strategic Missile Forces – now with the Avangard missile system,” Karakayev said on Russian TV on December 15.
The Avangard can move and outpace any missile defense while traveling at a hypersonic speed of Mach 27, or about 32,000 kilometers/hour, as Moscow claims.
The system was publicly unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018 and has since been projected as the cornerstone of the country’s hypersonic capabilities.
Earlier this month, a Russian military analyst Alexei Leonkov, who spoke to RIA Novosti, said that it was impossible to predict Avangard’s flight path or produce a missile with a speed that could match the Avangard.
He claimed thwarting Avangard would be an impossible task. He was responding to Japan’s decision to develop an anti-missile system that could intercept maneuvering hypersonic missiles.
The introduction of Avangard into the Strategic Missile Force is significant as it is a hypersonic glide vehicle that can be fired by various ICBMs, including the country’s newest and most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS-28 Sarmat.
Karakayev also stated that the RS-28 Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) would become the mainstay of Russia’s heavy silo-based missile force in the foreseeable future.
Sarmat can simultaneously transport 15 light nuclear warheads. One rocket may hit numerous targets simultaneously because these warheads are organized as Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs).
Earlier this year, the Commander had said, “Concerning Sarmat, it is another missile system. It is based on a launcher and is much more powerful than Avangard’s launcher. It has also been designed for Avangard, taking into account that the number [of Avangards] on this system [Sarmat] could be more.”
Russia has consistently claimed that it is developing hypersonic weapons so that its strategic forces can outperform any future American air and missile defenses.
The Avangard glides through the atmosphere, relying on reentry to accelerate to its peak speed. It is reportedly capable of making dynamic flying maneuvers to evade detection.
While the Avangard is set to enter service on December 17, Russia wasted no time loading a second Yars missile into a launcher sending a clear message to its adversaries across the border and in the West.
Another Yars Goes Into The Launcher
The second Yars intercontinental ballistic missile was put into a silo launcher in the Kozelsky missile formation in the Kaluga region, local Russian media reported. The rocket was installed using a special transport-loading unit, and the complex technological operations lasted several hours.
“Another intercontinental ballistic missile Yars has been loaded into a silo launcher. In the missile regiment, planned measures are being taken to re-equip with a new missile system. The regiment’s personnel has undergone several stages of training and is ready to perform tasks as intended,” said Alexei Novikov, chief of the missile regiment.
Earlier, on December 14, the Russian Defense Ministry released a video showing the installation of a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into a missile silo, as reported by EurAsian Times. The first Yars installation into the silo was also conducted at the Kozelsky missile formation in the Kaluga region, which lies southwest of Moscow.
At the time, the Russian media had emphasized that the unit was diligently working to create a new infrastructure that provides better conditions for staff leisure, combat duty execution, and duty force training. A similar assertion was made at the installation of the second Yars missile.
According to reports, the Kaluga-based Yars missile complex has a carrying capacity 12 times greater than the American atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
The Yars missile could be ready to fire in seven minutes from a prepared location, a specially designed garage with a sliding roof, or an unprepared position during field deployment.
The missile’s warheads are all in a single stage that separates from the rest of the weapon after launch in a traditional MIRV configuration. Once beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, this system can autonomously navigate and fire each warhead over a single target.
Russia has been projecting its strategic capabilities in the run-up to the December 17 Strategic Missile Forces Day. While it has indulged in nuclear brinksmanship earlier in the conflict, President Putin clarified in October that he wouldn’t use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
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