MOSCOW, November 26. /TASS/. Russia’s breakthrough Avangard missile system with the hypersonic boost-glide vehicle will assume combat duty in December this year, the Defense Ministry of Russia reported on Tuesday.
"This missile system is set to go on combat alert in December 2019," the ministry said in a statement.
A source in the defense industry told TASS on November 13 that the first two UR-100N UTTKh intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) outfitted with the Avangard nuclear boost-glide vehicle would go on experimental combat duty in late November - early December in the Dombarovsky division of the Strategic Missile Force.
As another source in the defense industry told TASS in October last year, two Avangard regiments with six silo-based missiles each were due to assume combat duty in Russia.
Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force Sergei Karakayev reported in December 2018 that the first Avangard hypersonic missile systems would assume combat duty at the Dombarovsky missile division in the Orenburg Region in 2019.
Avangard hypersonic system
The Avangard is a strategic intercontinental ballistic missile system equipped with a hypersonic boost-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 boost-glide vehicle is capable of flying at over 20 times the speed of sound in the dense layers of the atmosphere, maneuvering by its flight path and its altitude and breaching any anti-missile defense.
The new weapon was unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on March 1 last year. The Russian leader told a board meeting of the Defense Ministry in late 2018 that Russia had launched the serial production of Avangard hypersonic missile systems. Putin stressed at the time that the Avangard, along with Sarmat missiles, Kinzhal and Peresvet missile systems, would boost the potential of the Army and the Navy to guarantee Russia’s security for decades to come.