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Nuclear-powered missiles, ‘fireballs,’ and lasers Here are all the neato new Russian WMDs Vladimir Putin just unveiled

Meduza
16:14, 1 march 2018

In his address to the Federal Assembly on Thursday, March 1, Vladimir Putin presented Russia’s latest military hardware, which he says is unrivaled anywhere in the world. The speech featured lots of computer-generated videos demonstrating the capabilities of these next-generation weapons. Meduza briefly summarizes the new things Putin says these devices can do.

The “Sarmat” ballistic missile

Rossiya 1

This new intercontinental missile will replace Russia’s “Voevoda” rockets. Active tests have already begun. One of these missiles weighs 200 tons and has a virtually unlimited range. The Sarmat is equipped with an array of high-powered nuclear and hypersonic munitions, as well as the latest technology designed to thwart missile-defense systems.

A new cruise missile with a nuclear-powered engine

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Putin says Russia has already successfully tested a still-unnamed cruise missile with nuclear propulsion that has unlimited range and an unpredictable flight pattern. The missile doesn’t use ballistic trajectory when approaching its target, meaning that existing missile-defense systems are powerless against it.

Intercontinental underwater drones

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The president says Russia has developed unmanned underwater vehicles capable of intercontinental range that are faster than submarines, the latest torpedoes, and the quickest surface ships.

The hypersonic “Kinzhal” missile system

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In early December, Moscow started deploying the experimental hypersonic, high-precision-guided “Kinzhal” air missile system in Russia’s Southern Military District. Using this weapon, aircraft can deliver missiles to a launch point in a matter of minutes. While in flight, the missile performs maneuvers along its entire route, moving at more than 10 times the speed of sound. These rockets can travel more than 2,000 miles (1,250 miles).

The RS-26 “Avangard” missile system

Rossiya 1

The “Avangard” missile system is Russia’s latest high-tech weapon to go into mass production. The new weapon can travel intercontinental distances in dense layers of the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds faster than Mach 20, maneuvering and striking its target “like a meteorite, like a fireball.” The rocket travels so fast, Putin says, that it nearly melts into plasma in mid-flight.

Weaponized laser systems

Rossiya 1

Russia is developing new laser-based weapons that were already put into limited use last year. President Putin didn’t reveal many details about these devices, except to say that Russia is a step ahead of other countries in this field.

Finishing his presentation, Vladimir Putin noted that Russia’s new missile technology renders meaningless both American missile-defense systems and the eastward expansion of NATO.