Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that Russia now has an “invincible” nuclear missile. And if provoked, he would use the weapon against the U.S.Putin laid out Russia’s radically revamped military arsenal on Thursday during his annual state of the union address. By 2020, the Kremlin plans to roll out the new weapons, which include a hypersonic nuclear missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone, and a cruise missile which the strongman claims has unlimited range and the capability to of pierce any U.S. missile defense system.
Putin framed the development and deployment of his new nuclear arsenal in relation to last month’s U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, which calls for more smaller atomic bombs to specifically counter Russia. He also warned that any use of a nuclear weapon against Russia or any of its allies would draw an immediate response. “The response will be instant and with all the relevant consequences,” he said.The new Russian nuclear arsenal comes in response to the U.S. efforts to develop a missile defense system, with Washington failing to listen to Moscow’s concerns. “No one has listened to us,” Putin said. “You listen to us now.”In a simulation video of the new cruise missile that played during Putin’s speech, the weapon targeted the U.S. specifically.
The new cruise missile is capable of carrying a variety of nuclear warheads and has virtually no range limits. Putin claimed it can attack across both the North and South Poles.Putin said that no missile defense system is capable of stopping the weapons, and by comparison, called NATO's U.S.-led missile defense “useless.”
“I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country's development: all what you wanted to impede with your policies have already happened,” Putin said. “You have failed to contain Russia.”
Russia is the first country to unveil a hypersonic nuclear weapon. Dubbed Avangard, the missile is capable of intercontinental travel and can fly at a speed 20 times the speed of sound and strike “like a meteorite, like a fireball,” Putin said.Unlike traditional ballistic missiles, which follow a parabolic path, hypersonic missiles are launched well into space before skimming out the of the atmosphere at speeds greater than 4,000 miles per hour, gliding towards their targets with high precision.“No one in the world has anything like that,” Putin said. “It may appear someday, but by that time we will develop something new.”
“Like a fireball”
Putin also unveiled a noiseless, nuclear-powered, underwater drone, which the Russian president said was capable of travelling at high speeds while carrying nuclear missiles. Putin said the drones were 100 times smaller than a conventional submarine.
"I can say that Russia has designed unmanned submersible vehicles capable of operating at extreme depths … covering intercontinental distances at the speed, which greatly exceeds the speed of all submarines, up-to-date torpedoes and all types of high-speed surface ships.”Finally, the Russian leader also spoke briefly about a new laser weapon system. He said Russia was well ahead of the competition and had already armed its forces with these new weapons.
“I would not want to go into details here — it is not the time yet, but specialists would understand that having such military systems multiplies Russia’s abilities in the defense sphere.”It was reported this week by state-run news agency Interfax that Russian engineers had “completed work on the anti-satellite complex” which includes a laser and ground control equipment.Putin added that the Kremlin would run a nationwide competition to name the new cruise missile and underwater drone.
Cover image: Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he gives his annual state of the nation address in Manezh in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 1, 2018. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)