Russia’s arrangements to build a hypersonic weapon system that can travel at in excess of 20 times the speed of sound, and furthermore avoid US missile defenses, has typically rattled the world. A year ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted that the Avangard weapons system would be prepared by 2019. In any case, a few obstacles lie ahead that could affect production, CNBC announced. In particular, the Kremlin needs to discover another source of carbon fiber material to build the Avanguard hypersonic glide vehicles.
Russia’s present supply of carbon fiber material can’t withstand the extraordinary temperatures of hypersonic flight. As per a US intelligence report reviewed by CNBC, Russia is hunting for an alternative source of carbon fiber, however so far has had no luck. “It’s expected that they will make no more than 60 of these hypersonic weapons because it’s just proving to be too expensive to develop,” an anonymous official told CNBC.
Yet, one nuclear weapons master revealed to Engadget that 60 units is a truly huge number. “To me the most surprising part was that someone would say that 60 units is ‘a few’. I would say that 60 is rather quite a few. My take on Avangard has always been that it’s a niche capability without a clear mission. I was expecting that Russia will stop after deploying maybe a dozen of them,” said Pavel Podvig, a senior research fellow at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.
As it stands, the current plan is to achieve initial operational capacity of the Avangard by 2020, as indicated by Russian news reports. The present objective is to assemble 12 weapons by 2027, so it will be a long time until Russia can achieve 60 weapons. In the interim, the US Army intends to field its very own battery hypersonic missiles by 2023.