Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently emphasized the technological superiority of Russia’s intercontinental hypersonic glide vehicle, the Avangard, over the expensive missile defenses deployed by the United States and its Western allies.

According to Putin, the Avangard, which is an intercontinental missile equipped with a glide unit capable of traveling intercontinental distances, has rendered the multi-billion dollar US investments in its anti-missile defense system useless. Putin has criticized American investments for their excessive waste.

In September 2020, the first battalion of Avangard-equipped ICBMs was deployed to the Yasnensky missile complex, located 1,200 km southeast of Moscow. A second battalion followed this deployment in June 2022.

The Avangard can fly at speeds of up to Mach 27 and perform advanced evasive maneuvers, including lateral movements of thousands of kilometers. This makes it an insurmountable challenge for current missile defense systems, which are unable to track, much less intercept, such an agile vehicle.

Avangard: Redefining nuclear deterrence strategy

Putin: Mach 27 makes US missile defense useless

The Avangard is a missile system that can travel at an impressive speed, completing intercontinental flights in less than 10 minutes. It is capable of carrying two nuclear warheads with a total weight of two megatons.

Due to its ability to attack targets with unpredictable trajectories and virtually unlimited range, the system poses a direct threat to strategically important locations, including the continental United States. However, despite its advanced capabilities, the Avangard is not completely secure.

Its vulnerability lies in the security of the silos that house the carrier missiles, as well as the possibility of interception during the early phases of launch. This vulnerability is further complicated by the expected increase in F-35 fighters near Russian borders by 2030. These fighters will be equipped with anti-ballistic missiles that can penetrate deep into Russian airspace, posing a potential risk to Russian ICBMs before they can deploy their glide vehicles.

Avangard: The cutting edge of nuclear deterrence in the 21st century

Putin: Mach 27 makes US missile defense useless

Since its official presentation in March 2018, the Avangard system has been a symbol of the Russian strategic arsenal. It has marked a significant shift in the global arms race. President Putin has described its offensive capabilities using striking metaphors, referring to it as “a meteor” and “a fireball.” This highlights its unparalleled destructive power.

Putin has also emphasized the uniqueness of this system, attributing its development to pioneering advances in new materials. Without these materials, Avangard would have been an unviable project.

“There is no parallel today. Something similar may emerge in the future, but for the moment, this system is unique… The creation of this weapon would have been unthinkable without the development of new materials,” he stated.

In a historical parallel, Putin compared the importance of Avangard to the launch of the Soviet Union’s first satellite. This underscores the system’s crucial role in preserving nuclear deterrence in the face of advances in American missile defense.

“The Avangard is our answer to this challenge. It is a glider vehicle that travels at speeds exceeding Mach 20, operating within the dense layers of the atmosphere. Something that was previously unimaginable. This achievement represents a milestone comparable to the launch of the first space satellite for our defense,” Putin stressed. He highlighted this system’s revolutionary advance in the context of current technology and materials.

Redefining the global strategic balance in times of crisis

Putin: Mach 27 makes US missile defense useless

The world’s attention has shifted back to Russia’s strategic capabilities, specifically the Avangard, after the crises in Ukraine and Gaza. The possibility of increased European military involvement in Ukraine has sparked debate about the balance of nuclear power and military capabilities between the West and Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron stated that France was ready to counter any Russian advantage in Ukraine and urged allies to support Ukraine without limitations. Macron has emphasized that France will not engage in any direct offensive action in the conflict but will consider all possible courses of action to prevent a Russian victory.

This highlights the importance of maintaining an open dialogue and a cohesive defense strategy among allies, as well as the need for a unified posture in the face of contemporary security challenges in order to ensure a strategic balance that preserves peace and stability.