Russia and the U.S. have been aggressively upgrading their nuclear arsenal since Russia annexed Crimea last year. Tensions between the two countries continue to escalate. A new hypersonic missile that Moscow recently tested is only going to heat up the arms race. According to the latest issue of Janes Intelligence, Moscow unsuccessfully tested its hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) Yu-71 on February 26.
Russia may deploy 24 hypersonic missiles by 2025
Though the latest lest was unsuccessful, Russia has already carried out four tests. Yu-71 is capable of traveling at above 7,000 miles per hour, or ten times faster than the speed of sound. Russian website Sputnik News claims that the new hypersonic missile can penetrate even the best missile defense systems in the world. It is part of a secret project dubbed “Project 4202”, an effort by the Kremlin to overcome the U.S. missile defenses.
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Yu-71 was launched from the Dombarovsky base atop an SS-19 missile into the space. Russian military experts said this extremely maneuverable and ultra-fast glide vehicle can pierce any missile defense system. The Jane’s Intelligence report says that Russia is likely to develop a limited number of nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles by 2020, and deploy up to 24 of them by 2025.
Russia, China vs. the U.S.?
By that time, Moscow is expected to have developed its new intercontinental ballistic missile Sarmat that will be capable of carrying the new hypersonic device. Earlier this month, China also tested its nuclear-capable hypersonic missile Wu-14 for the fourth time in less than two years, which rattled the United States. China and the U.S. have locked horns over the former’s aggressive island-building activities in the disputed South China Sea.
China’s earlier tests in January and August 2014 prompted the U.S. Congress to sanction $70.7 million for the hypersonic weapons development in FY2015. Pentagon is also developing a similar Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) as part of its conventional Prompt Global Strike program. According to Inquisitr, the U.S. hypersonic weapon can travel at about 3,806 miles per hour.
In this triangular arms race, China is more like to join hands with Russia than with the U.S.