The Russian Ministry of Defence released on Thursday videos of five new weapon systems, which Russian President Vladimir Putin bragged would render make US missile defences “ineffective” in a March address.
The new weapons included a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a global cruise missile, a nuclear torpedo, a hypersonic plane-launched and nuclear-capable missile, and a laser.
“They kept ignoring us,” Putin said about the West in his state of the union address after describing the weapons. “Nobody wanted to listen to us, so listen to us now.”
Although Putin boasted about the weapons during his speech, many have been sceptical about some of the new systems.
Here are the newly published Russian MoD videos, and what we know about the weapons:
1. RS-28 Sarmat ICBM
The Sarmat is a liquid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missile that Putin claimed had an unlimited range and could beat any air defences.
Meant to replace the SS-18 Satan, the Sarmat is silo-based and has several payload options, including 10 large warheads or 16 small warheads or a combination of warheads and countermeasures.
It appears to have been successfully tested in late March, and is expected to be fielded by 2020-2021.
Read more about the Sarmat here.
Watch the Russian MoD video of the Sarmat below:
2. Poseidon nuclear torpedo
The Poseidon is an underwater, high-speed nuclear-capable torpedo unlike any other nuclear weapon.
As opposed to other nuclear weapons in which lingering radioactivity is only a dangerous side effect, the Poseidon uses radioactive waste to deter, scare, and potentially punish enemies for decades to come.
It’s supposedly surrounded by cobalt, which, when detonated, would spread a shroud of radioactive cobalt indiscriminately across the planet. One US analyst estimated that the cobalt would take 53 years to return to non-dangerous levels.
RIA Novosti reported on Thursday that tests of the Poseidon were “being completed.”
Watch the Russian MoD video of the Poseidon below:
3. Burevestnik cruise missile
In his March speech, Putin called the Burevestnik a “global cruise missile,” and claimed it had unlimited range and was nuclear-propelled.
But the missile was tested unsuccessfully four times between November 2017 and February 2018, according to CNBC. It was again tested in May, and only flew 22 miles.
Watch the Russian MoD video of the Burevestnik below:
4. Kh-47M2 “Kinzhal” hypersonic missile
The Kinzhal, which is Russian for “dagger,” is a plane-launched, nuclear-capable, hypersonic cruise missile that was successfully tested from a MiG-31BM in March.
According to the Russians, it has a top speed of Mach 10, a range of 1,200 miles and is even manoeuvrable at hypersonic speeds. With the 1,860-mile unfueled range of the MiG-31BM, the Kinzhal would have intercontinental strike capability.
The new video released by the Russian MoD also shows a Tu-22 carrying the Kinzhal, which would give it an even greater range.
Read more about the Kinzhal’s specs here.
Watch the Russian MoD video of the Kinzhal below:
5. Avangard hypersonic boost-glide vehicle
The Avangard will supposedly be launched from either a UR-100UTTKh or RS-28 intercontinental ballistic missile.
It’s reportedly fitted with a large thermonuclear warhead with a yield of more than two megatons, according to The National Interest.
Weeks after Putin announced the Kinzhal, US Air Force General John E. Hyten, the Commander of US Strategic Command, was asked how the US could respond to hypersonic weapons.
“We don’t have any defence that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us,” Hyten said.
Russia claims that it will be fielded by 2019, but many analysts have been sceptical of such an expectation.
Watch the Russian MoD video of the Avangard below:
6. Peresvet laser
The Peresvet laser’s capabilities remain shrouded in mystery, but Russian state-owned media TASS has reported that they have “been placed at sites of permanent deployment … Active efforts to make them fully operational are underway.”
Watch the Russian MoD video of the Peresvet below:
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