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Updated December 17th, 2023 at 14:43 IST

Russia's Strategic Missile Forces set ambitious course with seven ICBM launches slated for 2024

The glider's introduction to combat duty marks a significant advancement in Russia's strategic capabilities.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Edited by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Russian ICBM
The development raises global concerns about the potential impact on geopolitical dynamics and security. | Image:AP
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The commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), Lieutenant General Sergei Karakayev recently revealed Russia's ambitious plans to conduct seven launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in 2024. This announcement was made by Lieutenant General Karakayev in an interview by Russian newspaper Red Star. Notably, the announcement comes following a series of over 20 ICBM launches conducted by the SMF over the past five years, encompassing flight tests of new missile systems and training exercises for the Russian armed forces. 

Providing insights into the successful deployment of the "Avangard" complex, featuring a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), the Russian Lt General stated that cutting-edge technology has officially entered combat duty, marking a significant advancement in Russia's strategic capabilities. 

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Avangard complex and hypersonic capabilities 

The Avangard, known previously as Objekt 4202, Yu-71, and Yu-74, represents a hypersonic glide vehicle that can be carried as a Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) payload by various heavy ICBMs, including the UR-100UTTKh, R-36M2, and RS-28 Sarmat.

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HGVs, a distinct class of weaponry from traditional ballistic missiles, are characterized by their exceptional maneuverability and operational capabilities at lower altitudes.

The Avangard, in particular, stands out for its capacity to execute sharp high-speed horizontal and vertical evasive maneuvers during its approach, rendering it, according to Russian officials, "invulnerable to any missile defense system." Furthermore, the glider is reported to carry a nuclear warhead with a blast yield exceeding 2 megatons TNT. 

The introduction of hypersonic capabilities carries significant implications, especially in the context of global strategic balance. This development has sparked excitement within the defense industry, with experts anticipating a potential rekindling of an arms race reminiscent of the Cold War era. The Avangard, unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018, symbolizes one of six new strategic weapons aimed at bolstering Russia's military capabilities and securing its position on the global stage. 

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Transparency in missile launches and international relations 

Credit- AP

General Karakayev underscored the ongoing information exchange between Russia and the United States concerning planned launches of ICBMs and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Both nations adhere to a notification process established in 1988 and the Treaty on the Reduction of Strategic Offensive Arms. According to the commander, the Russian Federation and the United States inform each other of planned launches at least 24 hours in advance, providing details such as the launch date, location, and the area of impact for the warheads. 

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This transparent approach reflects a commitment to international agreements and efforts to prevent misunderstandings in the realm of strategic missile launches. It highlights the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between major nuclear powers to mitigate the risk of unintended escalation and foster a sense of strategic stability. As Russia continues to assert its prowess in missile technology, the global community watches closely, cognizant of the potential ramifications for geopolitical dynamics and global security. 

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Published December 17th, 2023 at 14:43 IST

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