The first batch of Avangard hypersonic missile systems, above (Photo credit: Defence ministry), has joined combat duty in Russia’s Orenburg region, the defence ministry said.
Avangard is equipped with a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle that can fly at 27 times the speed of sound, carry 2-megaton nuclear weapon and penetrate heavy anti-missile defences.
Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu called Avangard’s deployment a signatory event for the country and the armed forces.
“Avangard heads to the target like a meteorite, like a fireball,” said President Vladimir Putin while unveiling it during his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on March 1 last year.
Avangard was developed by the Research and Production Association of Machine-Building in Reutov.
Development of the missile systems began in the mid-1980s and they were first tested in 2004.
Avangard, along with Sarmat missiles and Kinzhal and Peresvet missile systems would boost the striking capability of the Russian Army and the Navy.
Avangard is seen as a move by Russia to counter US efforts to develop anti-ballistic missile systems capable of making Sarmat, Kinzhal and Peresve systems obsolete.