Russia has categorically denied stealing hypersonic missile information from the United States as claimed by President Donald Trump.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that Moscow began working on hypersonic weapons after U.S. pulled out of Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2002. The U.S. withdrawal eventually led to the creation of the Missile Defense Agency.
“We had to create these weapons in response to the U.S. deploying strategic missile defense system, which in the future would be able to actually neutralize, nullify our entire nuclear potential,” Putin said.
On Friday, Trump accused his predecessor Barack Obama of sharing information on hypersonic technologies with Russia.
“Russia got that information from the Obama administration, Russia stole that information. They got the information and then they built it. They now have the super-duper-hypersonic missile which goes five times faster than a normal missile. We have one that goes much faster than that,” Trump said.
This May, Trump said, “You’ve heard Russia has five times and China is working on five or six times. We have one 17 times. And it’s just gotten the go-ahead.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in December 2019 that his country was "planning catchup" and "investing every dollar it can" in order to gain an advance in hypersonic weapons.
Russia has raced ahead of both the U.S. and China in hypersonic missile development. The Tsirkon, a scramjet-powered anti-ship cruise missile is capable of attaining speeds of up to 11,100 kmph.
It was test-launched from the Admiral Gorshkov warship in January this year in the Barents Sea. The Russian military has informed of plans to launch it from a submarine and the development of a lighter version for launch from a long-range strategic bomber.
In June, Chinese state television reported the development of a scramjet engine that ran continuously for 600 seconds in a ground test which could lead up to the development of a hypersonic cruise missile.