Russia's most advanced Avangard hypersonic missile system could come into service by 2019, a source in the Russian defense sector told TASS on Thursday.
The source said: “After the first series of glide vehicles is produced and a controlling launch of a missile with this armament is carried out successfully, the Avangard complex may be accepted for service already in late 2018.
“At the latest, it will be accepted for operation and placed on high alert in 2019,” the source added.
Earlier, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov said the Defence Ministry had signed a contract for the mass production of the Avangard strategic missile system.
Details of the new weapon were first confirmed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on March 1.
The Avangard is a strategic intercontinental ballistic missile system equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle. According to open sources, the ‘breakthrough’ weapon was developed by the Research and Production Association of Machine-Building (the town of Reutov, the Moscow Region) and was tested from 2004. The glide vehicle is capable of flying at hypersonic speed in the dense layers of the atmosphere, maneuvering by its flight path and altitude and breaching any anti-missile defense.