06:04 GMT26 July 2021
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    The newest Russian missile, “Avangard,” which can travel at speeds up to Mach 20, makes US defenses totally useless because US counter-missiles can only travel at Mach 5, says one military expert.

    According to Alexey Leonkov, a former employee of the 30 Central Research Institute of Russia's Aerospace Force, the newest hypersonic missile that Russian President Vladimir Putin presented today makes US missile defense systems completely useless.

    During his annual address to Russia's Federal Assembly, Putin presented a number of secret weapons, including the Avangard hypersonic missile. The missile is believed to be able to travel at 20 times the speed of sound, or just over 15,000 mph. That's nearly as fast as the space shuttle's atmospheric reentry speed of Mach 25, or 17,000 mph.

    According to Leonkov, the anti-ballistic missiles the US uses for defense can only travel at a speed of Mach 5, or just under 4,000 mph.

    "I think that this is an answer to the Americans on the missile defense systems they deploy in Europe. American interceptors, including the Aegis, can only travel at Mach 5. In order to catch up with a missile traveling at Mach 10, one must have an interceptor running at Mach 15. Americans don't have such a missile; they are helpless here," Leonkov told Sputnik.

    The expert explained that the Russian hypersonic missile has a speed comparable to the first cosmic speed, also called orbital velocity. The weapon is also extremely precise, he said.

    "Mach 20 is roughly the first cosmic speed, or 6 km per second. That being said, the missile can maneuver with a high degree of precision, which is unrivaled anywhere in the world yet. No missile defense system can intercept it," Leonkov concluded.


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    hypersonic missiles, missile defense, Vladimir Putin, Russia
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