Avangard (hypersonic glide vehicle)
The Avangard (also known as Objekt 4202, Yu-71 and Yu-74) is a scramjet hypersonic glide vehicle developed by Russia, that can be carried as a MIRV payload by the UR-100UTTKh, R-36M2 and RS-28 Sarmat heavy ICBMs. It can deliver both nuclear and conventional payloads. The system entered service in March 2018, and was unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin as one of the six new Russian strategic weapons.
The Avangard (then called Yu-71 and Yu-74) was reportedly tested during a series of flight tests between February 2015 and June 2016 on board the UR-100UTTKh ICBMs launched from the Dombarovsky ICBM site during which the glider reached a speed of 11,200 kilometres per hour (7,000 mph; 3,100 m/s). Targets at the Kura Missile Test Range were successfully hit.
Another flight test was carried out in October 2016, using an R-36M2 heavy ICBM launched from Dombarovsky, hitting a target at the Kura Missile Test Range. This was reportedly the first fully successful test of the glide vehicle.
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 the missile enters serial production. This was also confirmed by the commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, Colonel General Sergei Karakayev.
The Avangard is powered by a scramjet engine that accelerates it up to Mach 20. When approaching a target, the glider is capable of sharp high speed evasive maneuvers in flight making it “absolutely invulnerable for any missile defence system”. According to Russian President Putin, Avangard strikes "like a meteorite, like a fireball”.
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