Putin hails ‘successful’ test of new hypersonic missile

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 26 2018 09:39 PM | Updated as of Dec 27 2018 07:16 AM

Putin hails ‘successful’ test of new hypersonic missile 1
Russia President Vladimir Putin visits the National Defense Control Centre in Moscow on Wednesday to oversee the test of a new Russian hypersonic missile system called Avangard, which can carry nuclear and conventional warheads. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hailed final tests of a hypersonic missile, which he earlier said would render existing missile defense systems obsolete. 

"On my instructions, the Ministry of Defense prepared and conducted a final test of this system. This has just been completed with absolute success," Putin said during a televised meeting with members of the government.

"Russia has a new type of strategic weapon," he said, adding that the intercontinental "Avangard" system would be ready for use from 2019. 

The Kremlin told Russian news agencies the test had taken place in far eastern Kamchatka while Putin was at the national defense control center.

Putin unveiled features of the Avangard during his annual address in March, which he said would be part of a new generation of "invincible" weaponry.

The hypersonic missile could fly at 20 times the speed of sound and maneuver up and down, meaning it could breach defense systems, he said at the time. 

The final test comes after US President Donald Trump announced plans to pull out of a key Cold War-era nuclear weapons pact, the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

Putin has laid out plans to develop missiles banned under the deal if the United States abandons it.