On Friday, the Russian military deployed a hypersonic weapon that flies at superfast speeds. The weapon is so fast that it can evade American missile defense systems. The launch could very well set off a brand new chapter in the long arms race between the U.S. and the Kremlin.
American officials stated on Friday that they have little doubt that the Russians had been working on a hypersonic weapon. The modified missile can carry a nuclear warhead and travel at speeds in excess of 3,800 miles per hour.
Reportedly, Moscow has been working on hypersonic technology for several years and has invested millions into the program. Russia has worked hard to catch up with America’s nuclear weapon systems. The new system is called “Avangard” could enhance Moscow’s already powerful nuclear forces significantly American officials have stated.
Hypersonic weapons are extremely fast. These types of weapons can maneuver along unpredictable trajectories thus making it extremely difficult for current systems to track and almost impossible to shoot down.
According to American military officials stated that the U.S. plans to deploy hypersonic weapons of its own by 2022, however, many experts state that the schedule is more than optimistic.
Russia’s announcement may spur a new round of diplomatic talks because it is reviving the arms race. Reportedly, Moscow is anxious for Donald Trump to renew the one remaining arms control treaty between the U.S and Russia, called New START.
New START limits strategic nuclear missile launchers and deployed warheads for both the U.S. and Russia. The treaty is set to expire in 2021.
So far, the Trump administration has been not shown an interest in extending the treaty. Trump has repeatedly stated that he would only renew it if it includes China as well as other nuclear powers, but China is not interested in any numerical limits on its arsenal. China’s arsenal is one-fifth of the size of America’s and Russia’s.
Russia’s showcasing of its new weapon could be an attempt to pressure Trump into opening talks with Putin. Putin has been unafraid to use “nuclear diplomacy” in the past and his military has been busy designing new weapons that could be serious threats to the United States.