Russia Reveals Hypersonic Strike Vehicle During Test Run
Russia has revealed its hypersonic strike vehicle during a test run in February, a report said.
The Washington Free Beacon, citing Jane’s Intelligence Review, said the new Yu-71 vehicle was released into near space from atop an SS-19 missile. The launch happened from the Dombarovsky missile base in eastern Russia.
The test launch, although unsuccessful, confirms Russia’s desire to develop “a hypersonic glide vehicle that could potentially expand the long-range strike capabilities of its Strategic Rocket Forces.” The report says Russia wants to develop the missile system so that it can effectively penetrate existing missile defense systems.
Its development is part of Moscow’s secret missile program dubbed Project 4202, considered a high-priority program, according to Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon official. Schneider added that senior Russian officials have started dropping hints of the strike vehicle in development.
It is believed Project 4202 is being developed to be nuclear-oriented. Jane’s report said Project 4202 could create a number of glide vehicles that will be equipped with nuclear warheads by end of the decade.
Russia has been for years trying to come up with its own hypersonic strike vehicle from as far back 1980s. The more recent sightings of suspected Russian flight tests of the hypersonic weapons were in 2001, 2004, 2011, 2013, 2014, and on February 26.
China recently confirmed it undertook a fourth flight test of its Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle on June 7 in western China. The vehicle reportedly engaged in a series of extreme high-speed maneuvers during the flight test. China’s hypersonic weapons are likewise nuclear-oriented.
“Russia appears to be considering the option of deploying its hypersonic system in a nuclear, as well as conventional, configuration,” the Jane’s report said. “This would give Russia the ability to deliver a guaranteed small-scale strike against a target of choice; if coupled with an ability to penetrate missile defenses, Moscow would also retain the option of launching a successful single-missile attack.”