Avangard (hypersonic glide vehicle)

Last updated
Avangard
Hypersonic rocket complex Avangard.jpg
The UR-100UTTKh ICBM launched from the Dombarovsky Air Base carrying the Avangard
Type Hypersonic glide vehicle
Place of originRussian Federation
Service history
In service27 December 2019 [1]
Used by Strategic Missile Forces
Production history
Designer Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology
Manufacturer Votkinsk Machine Building Plant
Produced2018–present [2]
Specifications
Mass~2 tonnes (4,400 lb) [3]
Length5.4 m [4]

Blast yield0.8 - 2 Mt [4]

Maximum speed Mach 20-27 [5] [6]
Launch
platform
ICBM Topol M , YARS , R-36 M2 , RS-28 and Bulava

The Avangard (Russian : Авангард; English: Vanguard; previously known as Objekt 4202, Yu-71 and Yu-74) is a Russian hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) that can be carried as a MIRV payload by the UR-100UTTKh, [7] [8] R-36M2 and RS-28 Sarmat heavy ICBMs. It can deliver both nuclear and conventional payloads. [9] [10] [11]

Contents

The Avangard is one of the six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 1 March 2018.

History

Launch of the UR-100UTTKh ICBM, carrying the Avangard HGV, Dombarovsky Air Base, 26 December 2018

According to Vladimir Putin, the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002 forced Russia to start developing hypersonic weapons: "We had to create these [hypersonic] weapons in response to the US deployment of a strategic missile defense system, which in the future would be capable of virtually neutralizing, zeroing out all our nuclear potential". [12] In 2007, when asked about U.S. plans to deploy ballistic missile defenses in Europe, Putin mentioned that Russia was developing “strategic weapons systems of a completely different type that will fly at hypersonic speed and will be able to change trajectory both in terms of altitude and direction". [13]

The Avangard (then called Yu-71 and Yu-74) was reportedly flight tested between February 2015 and June 2016 on board UR-100UTTKh ICBMs launched from Dombarovsky Air Base, Orenburg Oblast, when it reached a speed of 11,200 kilometres per hour (7,000 mph; 3,100 m/s) and successfully hit targets at the Kura Missile Test Range, Kamchatka Krai.[ citation needed ]

In October 2016, another flight test was carried out using a R-36M2 heavy ICBM launched from Dombarovsky Air Base, successfully hitting a target at the Kura Missile Test Range. This was reportedly the first fully successful test of the glide vehicle. [14]

On 1 March 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin in his presidential address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow announced that testing of the weapon is now complete and that it has entered serial production. [15] [16] [17] [18] This was further confirmed by the commander of Russian Strategic Missile Forces, Colonel General Sergei Karakayev  [ ru ]. [19] [20]

The latest flight test occurred on 26 December 2018. Avangard carried by a UR-100UTTKh ICBM launched from Dombarovsky Air Base successfully hit a target at the Kura Missile Test Range.[ citation needed ] The Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Yury Borisov stated a day later that the glider flew at 27 times the speed of sound, "invulnerable to interception". [6]

According to Russian Defense Ministry's press service/TASS, the Avangard missile system with the hypersonic glide-vehicle was demonstrated to the US inspection group in accordance with the New START treaty procedures on November 24–26, 2019. [21]

On 27 December 2019, the first missile regiment armed with the Avangard HGV officially entered combat duty. [1]

On 19 September 2020, Herbert Efremov, an Advisor for Science at the NPO Mashinostroyenia, was awarded Order of St. Andrew for his contributions to the Avangard development. [22]

Design

HGVs differ from traditional ballistic missiles by their ability to maneuver and operate at lower altitudes. [23] The combination of maneuverability and high speed poses significant challenges for conventional missile defense. With the advantage again swinging toward attack, the defense industry is concerned that weapons of this type will reignite the kind of arms race that dominated the cold war era. [24]

According to open-source analysis by Jane's, Avangard is a pure glide vehicle without an independent propulsion system. [25] When approaching a target, the glider is capable of sharp high speed horizontal and vertical evasive maneuvers in flight, which Russian officials claim makes it "invulnerable to any missile defence system". [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis of the Institute of International Studies, he’s known as a popularizer of nonproliferation and strategic topics since 2004 via his blog site "Arms Control Wonk", expressed scepticism towards Avangard's ability to evade missile defences, stating that "gliding results in slower speeds than traditional re-entry". [31] [32] The blast yield of a nuclear warhead carried by the Avangard is reportedly more than 2 megatons TNT. [33]

Operators

Flag of Russia.svg  Russia

The Strategic Missile Forces are the only operator of the Avangard HGV. As of January 2021, [34] [35] 4 Avangard-equipped UR-100NUTTH are deployed with:

See also

Related Research Articles

Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty 1972 arms control treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union

The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (1972—2002) was an arms control treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union on the limitation of the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems used in defending areas against ballistic missile-delivered nuclear weapons. Under the terms of the treaty, each party was limited to two ABM complexes, each of which was to be limited to 100 anti-ballistic missiles.

Intercontinental ballistic missile Ballistic missile with a range of more than 5,500 kilometres

An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a missile with a minimum range of 5,500 kilometres (3,400 mi) primarily designed for nuclear weapons delivery. Similarly, conventional, chemical, and biological weapons can also be delivered with varying effectiveness, but have never been deployed on ICBMs. Most modern designs support multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), allowing a single missile to carry several warheads, each of which can strike a different target. Russia, United States, China, France, India, United Kingdom, and North Korea are the only countries that have operational ICBMs.

United States national missile defense Nationwide missile defense program of the United States

National missile defense (NMD) is a generic term for a type of missile defense intended to shield an entire country against incoming missiles, such as intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBMs) or other ballistic missiles.

The Poseidon, previously known by Russian codename Status-6, is an autonomous, nuclear-powered, and nuclear-armed unmanned underwater vehicle under development by Rubin Design Bureau, capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear payloads.

UR-100N ICBM

The UR-100N, also known as RS-18A is an intercontinental ballistic missile in service with Soviet and Russian Strategic Missile Troops. The missile was given the NATO reporting name SS-19 Stiletto and carries the industry designation 15A30.

RSM-56 Bulava SLBM

The RSM-56 Bulava is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) developed for the Russian Navy and deployed in 2013 on the new Borei class of ballistic missile nuclear submarines. It is intended as the future cornerstone of Russia's nuclear triad, and is the most expensive weapons project in the country. The weapon takes its name from bulava, a Russian word for mace.

Peoples Liberation Army Rocket Force Strategic and tactical missile force of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army

The People's Liberation Army Rocket Force, formerly the Second Artillery Corps, is the strategic and tactical missile force of the People's Republic of China. The PLARF is the 4th branch of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and controls the nation's arsenal of land-based ballistic missiles—both nuclear and conventional. The armed service branch was established on 1 July 1966 and made its first public appearance on 1 October 1984. The headquarters for operations is located at Qinghe, Beijing. The PLARF is under the direct command of the Central Military Commission (CMC).

Nuclear triad nuclear weapons launchable from strategic bombers, submarines and ICBMs

A nuclear triad is a three-pronged military force structure that consists of land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear-missile-armed submarines, and strategic aircraft with nuclear bombs and missiles. Specifically, these components are land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and strategic bombers. The purpose of having this three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation's nuclear forces in a first-strike attack. This, in turn, ensures a credible threat of a second strike, and thus increases a nation's nuclear deterrence.

RS-24 Yars Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

The RS-24 Yars - modification 24) also known as RT-24 Yars or Topol'-MR is a Russian MIRV-equipped, thermonuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missile first tested on May 29, 2007, after a secret military R&D project.

Hypersonic flight Flight at altitudes lower than 90km and at speeds above Mach 5

Hypersonic flight is flight through the atmosphere below about 90 km at speeds ranging between Mach 5-10, a speed where dissociation of air begins to become significant and high heat loads exist.

The Dongfeng-41 is a fourth-generation Chinese solid-fuelled road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile operated by the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force. DF-41 is the fourth and the latest generation of the Dongfeng series strategic missiles developed by China. The missile was officially unveiled at the China National Day military parade on October 1st, 2019.

Prompt Global Strike (PGS) is a United States military effort to develop a system that can deliver a precision-guided conventional weapon airstrike anywhere in the world within one hour, in a similar manner to a nuclear ICBM. Such a weapon would allow the United States to respond far more swiftly to rapidly emerging threats than is possible with conventional forces. A PGS system could also be useful during a nuclear conflict, potentially replacing the use of nuclear weapons against up to 30% of targets. The PGS program encompasses numerous established and emerging technologies, including conventional surface-launched missiles and air- and submarine-launched hypersonic missiles, although no specific PGS system has yet been finalized as of 2018.

The RS-28 Sarmat is a Russian liquid-fueled, MIRV-equipped super-heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) under development by the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau since 2009. It is intended to replace the R-36M ICBM in Russia's arsenal.

The DF-ZF is a Chinese hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), previously denoted by the Pentagon as WU-14 and currently officially operational on October 1st, 2019, in the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. The DF-ZF is designed to be mounted on a DF-17, a type of ballistic missile specifically designed to carry HGVs.

The RS-26 Rubezh SS-X-31 or SS-X-29B, is a Russian solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile, equipped with a thermonuclear MIRV or MaRV payload. The missile is also intended to be capable of carrying the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle. The RS-26 is based on RS-24 Yars, and constitutes a shorter version of the RS-24 with one fewer stages. The development process of the RS-26 has been largely comparable to that of the SS-20 Saber, a shortened derivative of the SS-16 Sinner. Deployment of the RS-26 is speculated to have a similar strategic impact as the SS-20.

Boost-glide Glide and reentry mechanisms that use aerodynamic lift in the upper atmosphere

Boost-glide trajectories are a class of spacecraft guidance and reentry trajectories that extend the range of suborbital spaceplanes and reentry vehicles by employing aerodynamic lift in the high upper atmosphere. In most examples, boost-glide roughly doubles the range over the purely ballistic trajectory. In others, a series of skips allows range to be further extended, and leads to the alternate terms skip-glide and skip reentry.

The 3M22 Zircon also spelled as 3M22 Tsirkon is a scramjet powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile currently in testing by Russia.

Kh-47M2 Kinzhal Russian nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile

The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal ("dagger") is a Russian nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM). It has a claimed range of more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi), Mach 10 speed, and an ability to perform evasive maneuvers at every stage of its flight. It can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads and can be launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or MiG-31K interceptors. It has been deployed at airbases in Russia's Southern Military District.

The Dongfeng-17, is a Chinese solid-fuelled road-mobile medium-range ballistic missile that mounts the DF-ZF Hypersonic Glide Vehicle. The DF-17's hypersonic armament gives China significant leverage over current conventional ABM's due to the glide vehicle's unpredictable ballistic trajectory.

HGV-202F Indian Hypersonic glide vehicle

The HGV-202F is an Indian hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) being designed, developed, and manufactured by an Indian Defence and Space company HTNP Industries.

References

  1. 1 2 "Первый ракетный полк "Авангарда" заступил на боевое дежурство". TASS (in Russian). 27 December 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  2. "В России запустили серийное производство гиперзвуковой ракеты "Авангард"". РБК.
  3. "Avangard". missilethreat.csis.org. 27 September 2019. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  4. 1 2 "Шахты "Авангарда". Почему гиперзвуковые блоки решили ставить на Урале" (in Russian). 18 December 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  5. Avangard, CSIS Missile Threat, https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/avangard/
  6. 1 2 "Борисов: испытания комплекса "Авангард" доказали его способность разгоняться до 27 Махов". TASS (in Russian). 27 December 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  7. Majumdar, Dave (20 March 2018). "We Now Know How Russia's New Avangard Hypersonic Boost-Glide Weapon Will Launch". The National Interest.
  8. "Russia to use SS-19 ICBMs as carriers for Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles — source".
  9. Trevithick, Joseph. "Here's The Six Super Weapons Putin Unveiled During Fiery Address" . Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  10. "Russia's New Avangard Hypersonic Missile System To Enter Service By 2019". www.defenseworld.net. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  11. "Introducing 'Avangard' and 'Sarmat': Putin shows off new hypersonic, nuclear missiles". 1 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  12. "Putin named the reason for the development of hypersonic weapons". 19 September 2020.
  13. "Hyper-glide Delivery Systems and the Implications for Strategic Stability and Arms Reductions". April 2015.
  14. "Эксперт об "изделии 4202": теперь США будут меньше бряцать оружием". Ria. 28 October 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  15. "Russia begins serial production of new cutting-edge glide vehicle". TASS.
  16. "Russia's Avangard strategic systems enter series production – source". TASS.
  17. "Russia's Defense Ministry signs production contract for Avangard hypersonic systems". TASS.
  18. "Russia's Avangard hypersonic missile system". TASS.
  19. "New missile Putin mentioned in annual address successfully tested — top brass". TASS.
  20. "ЦАМТО / Новости / Траектория полета ракеты "Авангард" проходит на высоте десятков километров". Armstrade.
  21. "Russia demonstrates Avangard hypersonic missile system to US". TASS . 26 November 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  22. "Conversation with Gerbert Yefremov". Kremlin.ru. 19 September 2020. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  23. Reif, Kingston; Bugos, Shannon (April 2020). "Pentagon Tests Hypersonic Glide Body". armscontrol.org. Arms Control Association . Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  24. Smith, R. Jeffrey (19 June 2019). "Hypersonic Missiles Are Unstoppable. And They're Starting a New Global Arms Race". The New York Times . Retrieved 2 July 2020. Jack Reed ... told me it might make sense to question the weapons' global impact or talk with Russia about the risks they create, but the priority in Washington right now is to get our versions built.
  25. "Russia unveils new strategic delivery systems" (PDF). www.janes.com. Jane's Information Group. 2018.
  26. "Janes | Latest defence and security news". Janes.com.
  27. "Юрий Борисов: испытания "Авангарда" подтвердили, что он может развить скорость в 27М". www.armstrade.org (in Russian). 27 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  28. "Putin boasts new strategic weapons will make US missile defense "useless"". March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  29. Macias, Amanda (26 December 2018). "The Kremlin says it conducted another successful test of a hypersonic weapon". www.cnbc.com.
  30. "Putin says Russia ready to deploy new hypersonic nuclear missile". NBC News.
  31. "Russia says it has deployed first hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles". Reuters . 27 December 2019. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  32. "Russia's new Avangard missile is a nuke-ready hypersonic glide weapon, the Kremlin says". ABC Online . 28 December 2019. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  33. "Источник: первыми носителями гиперзвуковых блоков "Авангард" станут ракеты УР-100Н УТТХ". TASS (in Russian). 20 March 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  34. "Strategic Rocket Forces". russianforces.org. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  35. "ЦАМТО / Новости / РВСН получили на вооружение четыре ракетных комплекса "Авангард"".

Further reading