Putin said Russia is now the world leader in hypersonic missiles and advanced developments added to them. He also pointed out that by the time other countries catch up, Russia will likely have developed technology to counter any new weapons. Hypersonic weapons travel at extreme speeds at low altitudes, which presents challenges for missile defense systems. They are undetectable on traditional radar systems, causing great concern among other nations about their ability to deter possible strikes. While the true extent of Russian capabilities with these weapons is unknown, their recent tests are cause for concern.
“Hypersonic” in itself means to fly at a speed greater than five times the speed of sound. The first manufactured item to achieve this goal was the Two-Stage Bumper Rocket. Soon humans attempted to travel at this speed in rockets and airplanes. Recently, the hypersonic regime has been of interest to the defense sectors of many countries because the weapons are maneuverable and essentially undetectable. According to Reuters, the shape of hypersonic weapons allows them to maneuver effectively towards a target or away from defenses. These weapons add an element of unpredictable surprise that threatens every nation across the globe.
On Sunday, a documentary film titled “Russia: New History” was shown, which is where Putin made the claims. In addition, he stressed that Russia is “definitely the leader” of hypersonic missiles as well as the scale of improvements to traditional weapons. According to Reuters, US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall III said Russia, China and the United States are all in a race to build hypersonic weapons. Putin’s comments are likely to prompt further research and weapons testing by these other two superpowers, as concern over Russia grows.
These types of weapons pose great threats to other nations because most warning systems cannot detect them. Hypersonic weapons like Russian zircon fly so fast and so low that they can penetrate traditional missile defense systems. According to Foreign police, the Russian Navy plans to obtain these hypersonic missiles in 2022. Putin’s comments are seen as a signal west of their growing power, especially amid the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Russian troops have formed on the border of Ukraine and these missiles send a message against any nation sending support to Ukraine.
This arms race is likely to continue as other superpowers like the United States and China strive for the same capabilities that Russia has claimed. The United States had fallen a bit behind in hypersonic research, but with Russia and China as the big motivators, it is now leading a new charge with additional funding. Russia appears confident in its hypersonic capabilities and that other armies will not be able to catch up. These three superpowers in an arms race with hypersonic weapons raise extreme concern as they are deadly and are believed to be in the possession of potential aggressors.