The website for Metro UK news ran a November 9th piece detailing the “terrifying” Russian Avangard program as a reality. The piece details some new information, saying that the Sarmat II (NATO codename “Satan”) missile system is capable of launching up to 24 Avangard hypersonic glide weapons into orbit, from which they can carry out their missions:
Russia is about to unleash an unstoppable doomsday weapon which can dodge missile defences and cause an explosion big enough to wipe out a city. Next year, a hypersonic ‘glider’ called Avangard will reportedly go into active service with the Red Banner Missile Division, which is based in the south Urals.
This terrifying weapon travels at 20 at times the speed of sound and can strike a target anywhere on Earth ‘like a meteorite’, according to Vladimir Putin. The Russian President claimed his nation’s new missile is ‘invulnerable to any air or missile defence system’.
‘The scheduled period for placing the lead regiment on combat duty is the end of 2019. Initially, the regiment will comprise at least two systems but eventually their number will rise to their organic quantity of six units,’ a Russian defence industry source told TASS.
The weapon is capable of carrying a 2 megaton nuclear warhead which is more than 100 times more powerful than the bomb which wiped out Hiroshima. If dropped on London, it would cause a mile-wide fireball and kill vast numbers of people.
Avangard is a two-part system involving a large rocket and a gliding vehicle. It works by using the missile to fly the glider high into the atmosphere, where it detaches and travels towards a target on the ground at hypersonic speeds. The craft is capable of changing its direction as it travels and can reach such a high velocity that missile defences have no chance of stopping it.
Russia’s famous ‘Satan II’ missile can carry up to 24 Avangards, which means one fully-loaded nuke would have enough firepower to wipe out all the major cities in a country like the UK.
Putin unveiled Avangard this year along with various other new weapons including an underwater nuke designed to swamp coastal cities with huge radioactive tsunamis. This doomsday weapon is inspired by the experimental Soviet T-15 nuclear torpedo, which was dreamed up by the nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov but never put into active service.
If the T-15 had been built and unleashed it would produce a wave capable of washing a city like London or New York off the map and turn surrounding areas into an irradiated death zone.
For those who follow Russian weapons development, most of this news is not new. However what is new is that the Western media has picked up the story as a matter of fact, and not science fiction.
President Putin revealed the existence of the Avangard and the Kinzhal hypersonic systems during his March 1st, 2018 State of the Russian Federation speech. In addition, the Sarmat RS 28, dubbed “Satan II” by NATO was also introduced. This missile is a Fractional Orbiting Bombardment System, meaning that it actually places its payload in orbit and then drops its bombs en route. This also allows the missile to be directed against targets anywhere in the world from any direction. The usual design of an ICBM is such that its range is more limited, using over-the-North-Pole flight paths.
One of the interesting things about the Metro UK report is that it got added to Matt Drudge’s aggregate site, the Drudge Report (see bottom center of image):
This of course gives the news piece enormous visibility since Drudge is the top news aggregator in the world.
To those who are geopolitically interested, this news is nothing spectacular, because the program was announced over seven months ago. But seeing even a tabloidy British news site carry it and getting it represented on Drudge is a significant bit of progress.
The reality of the Russian weapons program is that it has become very advanced, but built around a new type of defense model, which relies on the unstoppability of a few very specialized weapons systems rather than mass production of weapons. This saves the Russian military enormously, and has created perhaps the finest military defense force in the world at this time.