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Russia Fields Hypersonic Weapon ‘Avangard’

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Russia’s defense ministry said the country has fielded its first hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles, Reuters reported Saturday.

Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defense minister, informed President Vladimir Putin of the deployment of the Avangard system, which has a hypersonic glide vehicle sitting on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Putin said Avangard could penetrate current and future missile defense platforms. He previously said the country’s new nuclear weapons can evade a U.S.-made missile shield and zero in on any target in the world.

The Department of Defense said in a statement it “will not characterize the Russian claims” about the hypersonic weapon’s capabilities. A Congressional Research Service report issued in July says the U.S. has been working on hypersonic weapons since the early 2000s.