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Putin urges prompt measures to introduce weapons capable of breaching ABM defenses

According to the Russian leader, measures to further strengthening the strategic nuclear forces’ potential are among top priorities for 2019

MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. Prompt measures are needed to arm the Russian Armed Forces with modern weapons capable of breaching advanced anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defenses, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said at an enlarged board meeting of the Defense Ministry on Tuesday.

Measures to further strengthening the strategic nuclear forces’ potential are among top priorities for next year, the Russian leader stressed.

"It is necessary to quicker switch over to modern armament that possesses enhanced capabilities of breaching advanced missile shield defenses. Next on the agenda are the serial production and the delivery of the Avangard global-range missile complex to the troops," Putin said.

As a whole, the Russian president pointed to the need to continue the course towards developing the Army and the Navy, taking into account existing risks, and also to maintain the high pace of military development demonstrated over the past few years.

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 its altitude and breaching any anti-missile defense.

The new weapon was unveiled by President Putin in his State of the Nation address to the Federal Assembly on March 1. Later, the Russian leader said during his annual Q&A session on June 7 that "the Avangard system is already in the process of its manufacture and has entered its serial production and in 2019 we are planning to deliver it to the Armed Forces."

Initially, the UR-100N UTTKh (SS-19 Stiletto) missile will be the carrier for the strategic hypersonic weapon and later it will be replaced by the most advanced Sarmat heavy ICBM.

As Strategic Missile Force Commander Sergei Karakayev said in an interview with the newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda on December 17, the first Avangard missile complexes with the hypersonic glide vehicle will assume combat duty in the Dombarovsky missile division in the Orenburg Region in the south Urals in 2019.