Russia has boosted its defense systems with its new range of strategic nuclear weapons that render the US missile defenses useless. In a fiery State of the Nation address by President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, Russia's latest nuclear warheads, and their capabilities were demonstrated using computer animations and videos.
From nuclear cruise missiles to underwater nuclear drones and intercontinental bombs that travel at 20 times the speed of sound, Russia's under-development weaponry marks a dramatic boost in the country's defense capabilities. So much that Putin said the new weapons represent a quantum leap in the military technology and that they can't be intercepted by an enemy.
Avangard and Sarmat were among the new weapons Putin announced on Thursday. What makes these nuclear weapons unique and deadly? Let's find out.
Avangard is a hypersonic vehicle with an intercontinental range and can fly in the atmosphere at 20 times faster speed than the speed of sound at Mach 20 or higher. But that's not the only remarkable achievement by Avangard, which the President described as "absolutely invulnerable for any missile defense system." This is achieved by Avangard's capability to perform sharp maneuvers while on its way to the target at hypersonic speeds.
The new Avangard missile is a technological breakthrough with a hypersonic speed of Mach 20 and higher— President of Russia (@KremlinRussia_E) March 1, 2018
Simply put, Avangard "heads to target like a meteorite, like a fireball," Putin said describing the weapon's unmatched capabilities during Thursday's address.
Putin's "fireball" remark isn't without context. Avangard is built to withstand temperatures of up to 2,000 Celsius (3,632 Fahrenheit), which can be caused by traveling at such high speeds. Avangard has entered serial production after completing tests of the vehicle.
To give a better understanding of Avangard's capabilities, a video was shown at the State of the Nation address, where Avangard was demonstrated being released from the booster rocket and maneuvering in the atmosphere bypassing missile defense en route to a target.
Besides the super-fast Avangard hypersonic vehicle, the President also revealed the new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) called Sarmat. It's an important part of Russia's defenses as it replaces the Soviet-designed Voyevoda - otherwise known as "Satan" in the West.
Sarmat is better than Satan in more ways than one. Firstly, it has a higher range than Satan, which allows Sarmat to fly over both the North and the South poles to reach any target. Weighing 200 metric tons (220 tons), Sarmat can carry more nuclear warheads than its predecessor.
Russian media reported that the new ICBM can carry 10 large warheads, 16 smaller ones, Business Insider reported. The Satan 2, as it is being referred to as, could carry as much as eight megatons of TNT-equivalent explosive power - more than 400 times as strong as either bomb the US dropped on Japan in 1945.
In a video shown during the Kremlin's address on Thursday, a test launch of Sarmat was shown. The new missile's faster speed as compared to its predecessor and has advanced guidance systems that can trick anti-missile systems.
We have developed strategic nuclear-powered missiles with an unlimited range— President of Russia (@KremlinRussia_E) March 1, 2018
An ICBM with virtually unlimited range and advanced dodging tactics strengthens Russia's nuclear forces. Putin called Sarmat aka Satan 2 "invincible."
With these new weapons, Putin also dismissed the threat of a Cold War 2 by calling it a "propaganda."
We aren't threatening anyone, we aren't going to attack anyone, we aren't going to take anything from anyone. The growing Russian military power will guarantee global peace," he said.