Explained: Russia Avangard missile

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News:Russia’s military has deployed a new intercontinental weapon called the Avangard hypersonic missile system.

Facts:

About Avangard Hypersonic missile system:

  • The Avangard hypersonic missile system is a reentry body carried atop an existing ballistic missile which has the capability to manoeuvre. 
  • It’s manoeuvring capability makes it difficult to predict its trajectory and gives it the ability to protect itself from the air and ballistic missile defences by delivering nuclear warheads to targets.
  • The missiles have a range of over 6,000 km, weigh approximately 2,000 kg and can withstand temperatures of over 2000 degree celsius.
  • The missiles can travel more than 20 times the speed of sound and put Russia ahead of other nations.

About Hypersonic missile system:

  • Hypersonic is generally defined as a speed of Mach 5 which means at least five times the speed of sound.
  • Hypersonic Cruise Missiles (HCM):It is a typical cruise missile which is all the way powered to achieve hypersonic speeds of Mach 5 or higher.
  • Hypersonic Glide Vehicles(HGV):The missiles have a boost-glide systems.They are launched like a traditional ballistic missile.But instead of following an arc high above the atmosphere,the re-entry vehicle is put on a trajectory that allows it to enter Earth’s atmosphere quite quickly before gliding un-powered for hundreds or thousands of kilometres.

Importance of Hypersonic missiles:

  • Hypersonic weapons strikes at a tremendous speed and prohibits the defender to get his defences to react to such a threat in time.
  • They can fly lower than the traditional ballistic missiles,thus they tend to avoid radar detection.Hence,they are difficult to be detected by the US missile defense satellites and radars.
  • The payloads gliding at speeds in excess of Mach 5 and more are so manoeuvrable due to their non-ballistic trajectories that they can change their targets at any point.