Russia: First Avangard hypersonic missiles enter service

Russia: First Avangard hypersonic missiles enter service
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at a military exhibition in Moscow. (Kremlin via Reuters)
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Updated 27 December 2019

Russia: First Avangard hypersonic missiles enter service

Russia: First Avangard hypersonic missiles enter service
  • ‘Strategic missiles with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle entered service at 10 am Moscow time on December 27’

MOSCOW: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin on Friday that the country’s first Avangard hypersonic missiles have been put into service, an official statement said.

Russian officials say the missile is highly maneuverable and reached the speed of Mach 27, or roughly 33,000 kilometers per hour, during tests.

Mach 1 is a unit of measurement equivalent to the speed of sound.

“The first missile regiment equipped with latest strategic missiles with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle entered service at 10 am Moscow time on December 27,” the defense ministry said, according to Russian news agencies.

No other details were immediately provided but defense officials have said that the first Avangard regiment is based in the Orenburg region in the Urals.

A defense ministry spokesman declined immediate comment.

Moscow has said it showed US arms inspectors the Avangard missiles in November.

Putin unveiled images of the new weapon during his state of the nation address in 2018, saying it would defeat all existing missile defense systems.

Russia has boasted of developing a number of “invincible” weapons that surpass existing systems and include Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles.

This week Putin said that Russia was no longer playing a game of catch-up with the West on weapons development.

“This is a unique situation in our modern history: they are playing catch-up with us,” he said.


Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department
Updated 16 January 2021

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

WASHINGTON: The lead US negotiator of the Iran nuclear accord and a battle-tested hawk on Russia were named Saturday to top posts at President-elect Joe Biden’s State Department, signaling a return to normal after Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency.
Wendy Sherman, who brokered the Iran accord under Barack Obama and negotiated a nuclear deal with North Korea under Bill Clinton, was named as deputy secretary of state.
Victoria Nuland, a former career diplomat best known for her robust support for Ukrainian protesters in the ouster of a Russian-aligned president, was nominated under secretary for political affairs — the State Department’s third-ranking post in charge of day-to-day US diplomacy.
Biden said that the State Department nominees “have secured some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory.”
“I am confident that they will use their diplomatic experience and skill to restore America’s global and moral leadership. America is back,” Biden said in a statement.
The State Department team will work under secretary of state-designate Antony Blinken, whose confirmation hearing will take place on Tuesday on the eve of Biden’s inauguration.
Blinken said that the State Department team, with women and ethnic minorities in prominent positions, “looks like America.”
“America at its best still has a greater capacity than any other country on earth to mobilize others to meet the challenges of our time,” Blinken said.
The optimism comes amid rising doubts about US leadership in Trump’s waning days after his supporters ransacked the Capitol on January 6 to try to stop the ceremonial certification of Biden’s victory.
Under outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a staunch defender of Trump, the United States has aggressively challenged Iran and China, robustly backed Israel and toyed with improving ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while also imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Sherman’s nomination marks another clear sign that Biden wants to return to the accord under which Iran drastically slashed its nuclear program in exchange for promises of sanctions relief.
Trump exited the deal in 2018 and imposed sweeping sanctions in what many observers saw as an unsuccessful attempt to topple the Shiite clerical regime.