Hypersonic glide vehicles are designed to replace

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feasible weapon with American and Chinese counterparts. Hypersonic glide vehicles are designed to replace traditional ballistic missile reentry vehicles, which follow a ballistic trajectory and cannot perform evasive maneuvers. HGVs, in contrast, generate aerodynamic lift and have control surfaces, allowing them to adopt non-ballistic flight paths and maneuver aggressively at hypersonic speeds (Putin claimed Mach 20 in his address). Traditional missile defense systems rely on the fact that ballistic missile warheads follow a predictable flight path , but Avangard would negate this and be essentially invulnerable to current systems. China, for its part, recently conducted HGV tests with its new DF-17 ballistic missile, according to DoD intelligence sources. These operational tests, which involved an HGV successfully striking its target, demonstrate a relatively mature capability. Although the DF-17 is an intermediate-range ballistic missile, the HGV itself adds substantial range thanks to its glide capabilities. Moreover, it’s possible that the HGV design tested with the DF-17 could be employed aboard ICBMs as well. The United States has invested in hypersonic research as well but plans to use the technology for time-sensitive conventional strikes, not BMD evasion. Russia’s Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missile appears to be an air-launched derivative of the 9K720 Iskander short- range ballistic missile, which features a maneuverable warhead. Not only is the Kinzhal deployed from the MiG-31, an interceptor with an impressive combat radius, but it should also enjoy a range increase over the Iskander thanks to its higher launch altitude and velocity. This gives the Kinzhal+MiG-31 combo a presumptive range in excess of 2,000 km, although the duo would be vulnerable before the Kinzhal is deployed. The weapon would excel in the anti-shipping role, where it could help overcome advanced American defenses such as Aegis BMD. Though Aegis BMD has successfully intercepted traditional anti-ship cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, maneuvering hypersonic threats such as the Kinzhal pose a unique challenge and it does not appear that Aegis BMD has ever been tested against such a threat. Perhaps the most unorthodox weapon discussed by Putin was the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile. Scant details are available on this system, which would be the first of its kind ever deployed. Nuclear powerplants are common on large vessels such as submarines and aircraft carriers but have not been particularly successful aboard aircraft. These past failures have been partially due to the weight of the required shielding; of course, cruise missiles have no crewmembers, so radiation leakage is less of a concern. Should the effort prove successful, the resulting missile would have excellent endurance at the expense of high costs and complexity. Since the Burevestnik’s engine would release radioactive materials upon impact, the weapon would likely be restricted to strategic use. The Burevestnik’s main appeal is stellar survivability in the strategic role. Whereas

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