MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. Russia’s most advanced Avangard hypersonic strategic missile system is expected to come into service no later than 2019, a source in the Russian defense sector told TASS on Thursday.
"After the first series of glide vehicles is produced and a controlling launch of a missile with this armament is carried out successfully, the Avangard complex may be accepted for service already in late 2018. At the latest, it will be accepted for operation and placed on high alert in 2019," he said.
TASS has not yet received any official confirmation of this information.
As the source added, with the activation of the Avangard hypersonic complex, the number of missile divisions within Russia’s Strategic Missile Force won’t increase: the most advanced system will enter service with the existing missile formations.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov earlier said that the Defense Ministry had signed a contract for the production of the Avangard strategic missile system.
The ‘breakthrough’ weapon with the hypersonic glide vehicle was unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on March 1. Later, Russia’s Strategic Missile Force Commander Sergei Karakayev said the Avangard’s trials had been completed.
The Avangard is a strategic intercontinental ballistic missile system equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle. According to open sources, the ‘breakthrough’ weapon was developed by the Research and Production Association of Machine-Building (the town of Reutov, the Moscow Region) and was tested from 2004. The glide vehicle is capable of flying at hypersonic speed in the dense layers of the atmosphere, maneuvering by its flight path and altitude and breaching any anti-missile defense.