Russia declared today its first test of a hypersonic missile, a year ahead of schedule. Defense analysts proclaimed the test made U.S. missile defense systems obsolete.
American missile defense has been a thorn in the side of the Kremlin since the days of Ronald Reagan’s SDI, or Strategic Defense Initiative. One could argue that SDI broke the back of the Soviet Union financially and technologically and forced Gorbachev to realize the U.S.S.R. could not beat America in a missile defense arms race.
The Russian international news site Sputnik suggested the missile, named Zircon, could be installed on Pyotr Veliky, the country’s nuclear-powered missile strike ship. Analysts stated the missile concept can fly at 4,600 miles per hour — that’s 6 times the speed of sound — and would be practically impervious to missile defense systems, reported The Independent.
Military analyst Vladimir Tuchkov told Sputnik: “It (the Zircon missile system) is expected to be added into Russia’s arsenal between 2018 and 2020.”
China and Russia have searched for asymmetric weapons that can defeat American carriers that project power and missile systems that protect the homeland against foreign nuclear attack. Hypersonic missiles are part of this effort and are here to stay as a quantum leap in destructive military firepower.