While much of the West was still recovering from holiday meals and cleaning up scraps of wrapping paper from the floor, Russian military officials were preparing for a test of the country’s new super-fast missile system. A successful launch of the new intercontinental ballistic missile was carried out earlier today, and the country has since released video of the test.
The missile system, which has been named Avangard, combines a powerful ballistic missile with what is called a “hypersonic glider.” Russia claims the system is capable of speeds exceeding Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound), and that the missile can perform evasive maneuvers to avoid modern missile defense systems.
As Russian state-run news agency Sptunik reported, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin declared the test a success and, now that testing has completed, the system will be “put into service” in “due time.”
Shortly after the testing, Russia’s RT news group broadcast what appears to be footage of the actual test taking place. Gizmodo nabbed the footage and posted it via YouTube:
Russia initially unveiled Avangard early in 2018 but at the time military officials had little to show for their work beyond some flashy animations. This new live fire test, which resulted in a planned strike on a missile testing range in eastern Russia, is the first decent footage we’ve seen of the system in action.
American military officials have been skeptical of Russia’s claims regarding the new system. While Russia boasts that Avangard can bypass any current missile defense systems in service today, U.S. military experts have questioned the system’s ability to live up to the claims. This new test and video footage of the launch doesn’t necessarily prove that Avangard is as unbeatable as Russia says it is, but showing off the weapon in action is obviously a step in that direction.