The first two UR-100N UTTKh intercontinental ballistic missiles equipped with the Avangard nuclear boost-glide vehicle will go on atrial combat duty in coming weeks. Work has started to prepare and place the missiles into silos, a source in the defence industry told Russian News Agency TASS.
“In late November – early December, two UR-100N UTTKh missiles equipped with the hypersonic glide vehicles from the first regiment of Avangard systems will assume experimental combat duty in the Dombarovsky division of the Strategic Missile Force,” the source said.
Russia’s Strategic Missile Force declined to comment over the phone on the information provided by the source. TASS has sent an inquiry to the Defense Ministry of Russia. As another source in the defence industry told TASS in October last year, two Avangard regiments with six silo-based missiles each were due to assume combat duty in Russia.
Then-Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov announced in March 2018 that a contract had been signed on the serial production of Avangard hypersonic missile systems. Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force Sergei Karakayev reported in December 2018 that the first Avangard hypersonic missile systems would assume combat duty at the Dombarovsky missile division in the Orenburg Region in 2019.
Avangard Hypersonic Missile
The Avangard is a strategic intercontinental ballistic missile system furnished with a hypersonic glide vehicle. The weapon was developed by the Research and Production Association of Machine-Building and was tested from 2004.
The glide vehicle is capable of flying at over 20 times the speed of sound in the dense layers of the atmosphere, manoeuvring by its flight path and its altitude and breaching any anti-missile defence.
The new weapon was unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on March 1 last year.
The Russian leader told a board meeting of the Defense Ministry in late 2018 that Russia had launched serial production of Avangard hypersonic missile systems. Putin emphasised at the time that the Avangard, along with Sarmat missiles and Kinzhal and Peresvet missile systems, would boost the potential of the Army and the Navy to ensure Russia’s security for decades to come.