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Thinly veiled message to NATO: Vladimir Putin announces hypersonic ICBM testing

Hypersonic weapon system capable of Mach 20 already deployed in Russia; cannot be stopped by any known defense system; this one of SIX radically advanced weapons systems announced by Russian President

President Vladimir Putin gave his countrymen and the listening West a very tough talk today. During his yearly “State of the Russian Federation” speech, modeled roughly after the United States’ own “State of the Union” address, President Putin announced the deployment of six extremely advanced weapons systems and technologies.

One is a hypersonic, in-atmosphere device that can fly at Mach 20 and steer itself to evade radar and detection systems. Called the Avangard, this system was said by President Putin to already be in production and deployed. Here is a video showing the characteristics of this system. Captions are not automatic so turn them on in the video settings to see the translation in English. We have provided a brief synopsis taken from the translation of President Putin’s own words:

This system is characterized by the ability to fly in dense layers of the atmosphere at hypersonic speed to intercontinental distances and range, at speeds in excess of Mach 20. It’s ability to maneuver in flight make it absolutely invulnerable to any means of anti-aircraft or anti-missile systems, and its use of new composite materials which have been developed have solved the problem of long term flight control in the conditions of being in plasma [due to the high atmospheric speeds]. It goes to its target as though it were a meteorite, with a surface temperature ranging from 1600 to 2000 degrees Celsius.

“For obvious reasons, we cannot today show the true appearance of this system, but I want to assure you that all of this is in stock and it works very well.”

This alone is a massive development, unknown in the West.  While a few things about this system remain unclear, such as how the projectile is powered, and what kind of warhead it carries or if it is being used as a kinetic weapon (like a meteorite), this is not where the President stopped. In fact, the next system he announced was probably a revelation of how Avangard is kept flying at Mach 20.

An extremely compelling statement Mr. Putin made is about the Russians’ development of a nuclear reactor small enough to provide propulsion for a cruise missile. This gives the missile virtually unlimited range, and allows it to steer around any detection networks on its way to the target. By unlimited he really means it, too, as an onboard nuclear reactor can provide power for a a very long time. This video shows the concept:

As one can hear from the sound accompanying the video, this innovation was well-received by the Russian Parliament and the guests who were present.

The development of such a reactor was started by the United States in the 1960’s, as Project Pluto, but it was abandoned because chemically-propelled missiles were more viable at that time. Russia, with this system, is reporting a breakthrough.

This news was a shock because there was no information or hint that the Russian Federation was developing such a system.

The third major piece of news concerned the new Sarmat, or RS-28 ICBM (codenamed Satan-2 by the West). This missile and its development has been known of in the West for some time, but in President Putin’s discussion and video, he showed that this system is very long-range, and is able to approach any target around the world from any direction. In the case of the United States, most antiballistic missile systems are stationed in Alaska and the north, because the distance from Russian silos to American targets is shorter that way. Sarmat puts its payload into low earth orbit, and this allows the warheads to come from any direction at all. Here was the clip for this system:

Although most of the imagery shown of the “Earth” in this video is a fictionalized surface, the last few seconds show the warheads approaching the Florida peninsula.

There were two more announcements, both related to the nuclear propulsion technology. One was a Mach-10 hypersonic nuclear missile system called the Kinzhai (Dagger), and the other was an unmanned submersible vehicle that can “move at extreme depths, intercontinentally, at a speed multiple times higher than the speed of submarines, cutting edge torpedoes and all kind of surface vessels…” and this vehicle is powered by the new innovative nuclear power unit that is 1/100th as large as the units that power present-day subs. As a drone, this vehicle can deliver a superweapon capable of creating a massive tsunami, according to reports.

All in all, this news was huge.

Now, no doubt the mainstream media and some politicians in the West will start crying “aggressor!” about this. But is this really the case?

Patriarch Kirill I, Dmitry Medvedev and his wife, Svetlana, and others listen to President Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly March 1, 2018.

This depends on who one asks of course, but consider this point: The US and NATO have been decrying Russia as an “aggressor nation” since at least 2014 when the strife in Ukraine began. However that strife was fueled by the Americans, such as Senator John McCain who with others tempted the Kyiv government to try to follow the allure of the West and maybe even join NATO, which is untenable for Russia, since Ukraine borders Russia directly, and further since there had been a promise that NATO would not expand in this way.

It happened, and it was not Russia that did the expansion move, and that is a fact. The second matter concerns increasing NATO pressure all along the frontier of the former Soviet Union, where to all appearances, NATO is apparently fencing Russia off from the world with all manner of weapons and missiles. To put it succinctly, Russia is being treated as an aggressor nation, which it is not, and as time has gone by the US has backed out of agreement after agreement. Today’s statements by Putin were in response to this, noting particularly that the United States backed out of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty in the year 2000. Although Russia repeatedly tried to re-engage with the West, for most part, Putin said, these attempts were unsuccesful. In the absence of agreements to work together, and with the repeated occurrences of the West reneging on their promises, Russia felt the need to develop its defense systems.

And here we are.

While it was very clear in the speech that President Putin means no aggression towards the United States, it was also very clear that the situation has become untenable without this response being made. Russia is resurgent as a great power, and as such she has the right to be heard and respected as a great power. It would seem that the United States and NATO, in the rush to seize and maintain hegemony, has committed a gross miscalculation and this is going to be something we likely hear a lot of talk about in the coming weeks and months. It remains to be seen if the US is going to admit that their tack on this matter needs to change. I would not look for any obvious signs of it, though. Pride is a big investment in the American foreign policy culture, and this news is going to sting that pride no matter which way the foreign policy decisions go.

Let us pray that the wisdom to do what is right is what wins the day for both our nations, and the world.

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