Pentagon looks for 'defence' to Putin's 'invincible' hypersonic missiles

WION New Delhi, India Jan 30, 2020, 09.29 PM(IST) Written By: Praphul Singh

The Pentagon logo is seen behind the podium in the briefing room at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, US, January 8, 2020. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Russian President Vladimir Putin calls Russia’s Avangard hypersonic missile 'invincible'. Russia claims the missile is highly manoeuvrable and can reach the speed of Mach 27, or roughly 33,000 kilometres (20,500 miles) per hour.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. was awarded a $13 million contract from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for its "Glide Beaker" program. The contract is for the research, development, and demonstration of technology that is critical for enabling an advanced interceptor capable of engaging and manoeuvring "hypersonic" threats in the upper atmosphere.

Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced successfully developing an 'invincible' hypersonic missile, the United States has been bolstering its investment in hypersonic weapons. But, one of the major concerns remains the protection from these "Avangard" hypersonic missiles.

President Putin earlier claimed that the "Avangard" hypersonic missiles, believed to be located in the Urals mountain range in Western Russia, can deliver warheads at 27 times the speed of sound. Russian President went on saying, "not a single country possesses hypersonic weapons, let alone continental-range hypersonic weapons," as reported by news agency AFP.  

Also read: We're constructing many hypersonic missiles - US President Donald Trump

"The Avangard is invulnerable to intercept by any existing and prospective missile defence means of the potential adversary, " Putin had said.

"The Avangard is invulnerable to intercept by any existing and prospective missile defence means of the potential adversary, " he added.

Glide Breaker should be tested in 2020 and the reason behind this is that the US is in a bit of rush. Hypersonic weapons may be able to penetrate US missile defences. Recent "drone" attacks on key Saudi oil facility Aramco on 14 September 2019, revealed the limits of US-made Patriot surface-to-air missiles. The Aramco facility under attack had a fleet of six Patriot surface-to-air missiles and associated radars. The Patriots didn’t stop the recent attack.

Also read: Russia says first Avangard hypersonic missiles enter service


The race for "hypersonic weapons" is not just limited to the US and Russia. China - which is estimated to be the world's second-largest armament maker after the US according to a recent report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI ) - is also close on the heels. China recently demonstrated the DF-17 hypersonic missile. China claims that the DF-17 hypersonic missile can travel faster than five times the speed of sound and is believed to "transform" Beijing's might in advance weaponry. The DF-17 first appeared in public in Beijing during a military parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China.

Whether it is Russia, China or the US, they initiated the pursuit of "hypersonic weapons" for unique strategy purposes but the recent accelerated rush reflects on their efforts to overtake their rivals in a classic race called "arms race".