MOSCOW : President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia has a strong edge in designing new weapons and that it has become the only country in the world to deploy hypersonic weapons.

The Russian leader noted that during Cold War Times, the Soviet Union was behind the United States in designing the atomic bomb and building strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Now we have a situation that is unique in modern history when they are trying to catch up to us, he said. Not a single country has hyersonic weapons, let alone hypersonic weapons of intercontinental.

Putin said that the Avangard has an intercontinental range and can fly in the atmosphere at a speed 20 times the speed of sound. He noted that the weapon's ability to change both its course and its altitude en route to a target makes it immune to interception by the enemy.

It's the weapon of the future, capable of penetrating both existing and prospective missile defence systems.

The Kinzhal, which is carried by MIG 31 fighter jets, entered service with the Russian air force last year.

Putin has said that the missile flies 10 times the faster than the speed of sound, has a range of more than 2,000 kilometres and and can carry a nuclear or a conventional warhead .

The military said it's capable of hitting both land targets and navy ships.

The United States and other countries also have worked on designing hypersonic weapons , but they haven't entered service yet.

The Kremlin has made military modernisation its top priority amid tensions with the West the followed the 2014 Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea.

Putin argue that Russia must have the best weapons in the world. It's not a chess game where it's OK to play to a draw, he said. Our technology must be better. We can achieve that in key areas and we will.

Putin noted that the work to develop other prospective weapons, including the Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile, the Poseidon nuclear-powered underwater drone and the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile was going according to plan. [AP]


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