The thing about hypersonic missiles is they are supposed to be impossible to defend against. Since Russia began touting its experimental arsenal two years ago, the prospect of devastating weapons capable of traveling at Mach 5, or at least a mile per second, has kept Pentagon generals up at night.
“The hypersonic threat is real, it is not imagination,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves told a D.C. defense conference in 2018. “Greaves comments come amid reports that assess Russia will be capable of fielding a hypersonic glide vehicle, a weapon that no country can defend against, by 2020,” a report at the time underscored alarmingly.
The "indefensible" super weapon... but Russian President Vladimir Putin now says the Kremlin will soon have the technology to defend against it — this as more and more information has been slowly revealed concerning the US Department of Defense's own multi-billion dollar hypersonics program.
Putin made the new comments Sunday:
“It’s very likely that we will have means to combat hypersonic weapons by the time the world’s leading countries have such weapons,” he said according to the RIA news agency.
Russian state media further said Putin referenced an emerging hypersonins 'arms race'.
The Russian president said that Russia's rivals will soon be "surprised" when they learn the Russian armed forces will be able to "combat them". Putin's words, as conveyed by RT, were paraphrased as follows:
Other nations are hastily designing their own hypersonic weapons – but by the time they are acquired, the Russian military will have learned how to shield the country from them, President Vladimir Putin said.
The world’s leading military powers will eventually succeed in developing the ultra-fast weapons, President Vladimir Putin told Russia-1 TV. Russia, meanwhile, which seems to be leading the race for hypersonic dominance, won’t be caught off-guard once that happens, he pledged.
I think that we can pleasantly surprise our partners with the fact that when they get these weapons, we will have the means of combating them, with a high degree of probability.
Prior US intelligence reports predicted that Russia could possess battle-ready hypersonic weapons by mid-2020; however, at this point it seems unlikely given recent apparent major setbacks in Russia's testing hypersonics.
Those prior reports also described "a Russian weapon the U.S. is currently unable to defend against..." which has previously undergone reported successful tests, namely the hypersonic glide missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, dubbed Avangard. Putin had previously called the Avangard "invincible".
But assuming Putin's newest remarks on hypersonics are anywhere near accurate — that Russia is close to being able to defend against hypersonic missiles — this would be a true game-changing advantage without parallel, whether it be China or America's experimental programs.