The Avangard is a Russian hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) that may be carried as a MIRV payload. It is capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional payloads.
The Avangard is one of six new Russian strategic weapons that the Russian President announced on March 1st, 2018.
But what makes this missile so special? Why is it considered to be “The Impossible to Intercept” missile? And what speed can this missile reach?
This HGV has its roots in the 1980s when the Soviet Union initially began researching warheads capable of traveling at speeds of a lot more than the speed of sound. Around the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, this initial project came to an end.
NPO Mashinostroeniya, a Russian defense contractor, reportedly restarted the program in the mid-1990s under the codename “Project 4202.”
Between 1990 and 2018, the Avangard has undergone about 14 flight-reported tests. At the Dombarovskiy missile station in Orenburg Oblast, Russia, the weapon was launched at the end of December 2018. Atop an SS-19 ICBM, the HGV was fired towards a target at the Kura shooting range in Kamchatka, traveling more than 6,000 kilometers.
This video show the test:
Russia has consistently said that it is developing hypersonic weapons in order to assure that Russian strategic forces would be able to penetrate future U.S. air and missile defenses.
The “Impossible To Intercept” Avangard Hypersonic Missile
The Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle entered service in December 2019.
Gliding through the atmosphere, the Avangard relies on reentry to reach its top speed. Even yet, it is said to be capable of dynamic maneuvering in the air in order to avoid detection.
“The weapon is capable of performing sharp maneuvers on its way to targets, making it absolutely invulnerable to any missile defense system,” said President Vladimir Putin previously.
We believe that this is absolutely true due to the fact that this missile can reach an insane top speed! With a maximum speed of 20 to 27 Mach or (24696 kph – 33340 kph), the Avangard system is capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional payloads onboard.
At the moment, Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces employ at least four Avangard-equipped missile systems.
Avangard Launching and Specs
The Avangard is designed to sit on the top of ballistic missiles, and once in the sky, it uses aerodynamic forces to maneuver in the atmosphere.
The RS-28 Sarmat, Russia’s newest and most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, is capable of launching it to the highest point on its flight route.
The Avangard weighs about 2 tonnes and is 5.4 m in length. Due to its weight and impressive speed, reports from TASS stated that the HGV’s nuclear warhead had a “TNT equivalent of more than 2 megatons.”
The RS-28 Sarmat will be capable of carrying about 10 tonnes of payload, which means it could be able to carry about 5 Avangard Hypersonic Missiles.
Because of its fast boost phase, satellites equipped with infrared sensors like the U.S. Space-Based Infrared System have a harder time tracking Sarmat and intercepting it. The Sarmat is rumored to be able to fly past the South Pole undetected by modern missile defenses.
This means that the Avangard should have a safe trip in the sky, making the “Impossible to Intercept” most probably true!
Between February 2015 and June 2016, the Avangard was said to have been tested aboard a UR-100UTTKh ballistic missile fired from Dombarovsky Air Base in Orenburg Oblast, reaching speeds of 9Mach (11,200 kph) and hitting targets at the Kura Missile Test Range in Kamchatka Krai.
The most recent test flight took place on December 26th, 2018. Avangard, launched from Dombarovsky Air Base onboard the UR-100UTTKh ballistic missile, successfully struck a target in the Kura Missile Range. A day later, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said the glider traveled at 27 times the speed of sound, making it “invulnerable to interception.”
Do you think hypersonic missiles are going to change the game rules? And how can countries defend their lands against such fast missiles like the Avangard?