Russia is currently working on a new hypersonic missile, which can carry nuclear warheads and breach existing missile defense systems, according to military experts. The new weapon is part of Russia’s plans to modernize the country’s strategic missile force.
Russia is said to have spent several years developing the “Yu-71” missile, under a project codenamed “Project 4202.” The missile is claimed to have a maximum speed of 11,200 kilometers per hour (about 7,000 mph or Mach 10), and is also said to be highly maneuverable. Russia has so far carried out four tests of the Yu-71, with the most recent test flight conducted on Feb. 26, Russia’s Sputnik News reported, citing a recent report by Jane’s Intelligence Review.
“This would give Russia the ability to deliver a guaranteed small-scale strike against a target of choice; if coupled with an ability to penetrate missile defenses, Moscow would also retain the option of launching a successful single-missile attack,” the Jane’s Intelligence Review report said.
According to the report, Russia could deploy up to 24 nuclear-capable Yu-71 payloads between 2020 and 2025. In addition, the country is also expected to develop the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile by that time, which could be used to carry the new hypersonic device, Sputnik reported.
The United States and China are also working on the technology needed to build hypersonic missiles, raising concerns about a new arms race among the world’s top three superpowers.
China has reportedly tested its hypersonic strike vehicle called “Wu-14,” which has been tested at least four times since January 2014. The weapon, which can carry nuclear warheads while travelling at 7,000 mph, can also reportedly neutralize the U.S. anti-missile shield.
The U.S., on the other hand, is said to have engineered a similar weapon, which can travel at Mach 5, or about 3,806 mph, Inquisitr reported.