US Intelligence Indirectly Confirms Existence of Russia’s Hypersonic Weapons

Sources with direct knowledge of US intelligence reports say Russia is on the brink of developing a maneuverable, hypersonic nuclear-capable glider warhead that no US system can defeat.

The sources, speaking to CNBC on condition of anonymity, reported that Russia tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle (presumably the Avangard) twice in 2016, and again in 2017. The 2017 test was a failure, according to the sources. A fourth test is expected sometime this summer.

Citing an intelligence report, a source said the hypersonic glider’s testing involved mounting it to an RS-18A intercontinental ballistic missile (NATO reporting name SS-19).

US intelligence says the vehicle is highly maneuverable, and thus unpredictable and hard to track. It is also fitted with onboard countermeasures, which no existing US missile-defense system can defeat. Furthermore, although it can carry a warhead, it is believed that the force of the glider’s impact, as well as its precision, may be enough to destroy targets.

The intelligence reports, allegedly created this past spring, calculate that the Avangard will likely be operational by 2020, according to CNBC’s sources.

The news site doesn’t specify whether the reports were released before or after President Putin’s unveiling of of cutting-edge new Russian missile systems in a speech to lawmakers on March 1. Putin confirmed the existence of a hypersonic glider, dubbed the Avangard, as well as the Kinzhal air-launched…

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