A previous posting on Russia’s hypersonic glide vehicle can be found HERE.
Moscow follows China in seeking maneuverable high-speed missiles
Moscow is developing a new, ultra-high speed strategic attack vehicle similar to China’s hypersonic weapon, according to military analysts.
However, unlike high-profile strategic bomber flights and large-scale nuclear war games that U.S. military commanders have called provocative, details about the Russian hypersonic vehicle remain one of Moscow’s closely held military secrets.
The Russians have been developing the new Yu-71 vehicle for several years and conducted the most recent flight test in February, according to an article published this month in Jane’s Intelligence Review.
A Pentagon spokeswoman declined to comment on the Russian hypersonic test.
The unsuccessful flight test was believed to have been released into near space from atop an SS-19 missile that was launched from the Dombarovsky missile base in eastern Russia. The vehicle is part of Moscow’s secret Project 4202 missile program, the Jane’s report says.
Jane’s concludes that Russia over the past five years has stepped up the secret program as part of efforts to defeat U.S. missile defenses that were designed to counter predictable ballistic targets.
Hypersonic vehicles, however, are very difficult to track and target because they move in unpredictable ways at speeds of up to 7,000 miles per hour.
Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon official who closely monitors Russian strategic weapons programs, said Moscow’s development of glide-strike vehicles and maneuvering warheads are high-priority programs.
Unlike China’s hypersonic weapons, which include the recently flight-tested Wu-14, the Russian program has been mentioned publicly by senior Russian officials, indicating its importance.
“Both are reportedly nuclear-oriented and the Chinese program seems more successful,” Schneider said, adding that Russian tests were reported to have been failures.
“The Russian program was clearly described as strategic in nature,” he added. “The Obama administration talks about the Chinese threat, but very little about the Russian threat, so our only sources of information are the Russian press.”
Project 4202 could produce a small number of glide vehicles by the end of the decade that may be equipped with nuclear warheads, the Jane’s report says.
Another Yu-70 test likely was carried out in 2004 when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was developing “new hypersound-speed, high-precision new weapons systems that can hit targets at intercontinental distance and can adjust their altitude and course as they travel.”
Suspected flight tests of the newer Yu-71 likely took place in December 2011, in September 2013, at an an unknown date in 2014, and on February 26 in Dombarovsky.
The Dombarovsky base was identified as a likely deployment site for the Yu-71 in Russian government construction documents that identified the work as part of Project 4202.
The article says the “primary purpose is the development of a missile system that can effectively penetrate existing missile defense systems.”
Unlike U.S. plans for hypersonic missiles to deliver conventional warheads, “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.”
Up to 24 with new hypersonic payloads could be deployed at Dombarovsky by 2020 to 2025.
Full article: Russia Tested Hypersonic Glide Vehicle in February (Washington Free Beacon)