Western media are abuzz--the main dictator of this planet, the abuser of Russia and underminer of the American democracy, the evil Putin has spoken. About hyper-sonic weapons.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will soon be in a position to counter hypersonic arms deployed by other countries, President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday, adding that Moscow was ahead of the United States in developing new types of weapons. Hypersonic glide vehicles can steer an unpredictable course and manoeuvre sharply as they approach impact. They also follow a much flatter and lower trajectory than ballistic missiles. Washington and Moscow have been expanding their defence capabilities as some Cold War-era arms control agreements collapsed during worsening of Russia's ties with the West. Last year Russia deployed its first hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles, while the Pentagon has a goal of fielding hypersonic capabilities in the early to mid-2020s.
In Russian version of Putin's interview he actually spoke (sarcastically) about "pleasant surprise" for the US once it will, eventually, get its hands on some sort of hyper-sonic weapon. And, of course, Reuters lied (I am sure without any malice, wink, wink) or is simply dumb to understand the difference of which I write non-stop. While hyper-sonic "nuclear capable" gliders are cool and are "strategic" it is not them which are the focus of the modern arms race. The real deal are what broadly could be defined as operational-tactical hypersonic weapons designed to be used at the modern battlefield against variety of the enemy's military targets. Russia has one such weapon, hypersonic Kinzhal in IOC since 2017 and in full combat deployment since 2018.
The United States undeniably will be able at some point of time to develop some sort of a glider but I doubt it very much that US military will have anything comparable to 3M22 Zircon or even same Kinzhal anytime soon. Rule of thumb here is this: a generation of weapon systems. The United States lags behind Russia in hyper-sonic battle-field weapons not just by generation, but by two. She simply doesn't have any, while Russia already has Kinzhal in action for 3 years and Zircon is nearing its IOC. That means a NEW generation of weapons is already on the drawing board or even in prototype stage. Ad nauseam, again, not only the United States doesn't have a working prototype of such weapon, including a latest snafu with losing one. The issue, ad nauseam again, here is that the US doesn't have any experience with high super-sonic (M=3+) missiles at all, unlike Russia who deploys an astonishing array of such weapons from 3M54 Kalibr, to P-800 Onyx, capable to attack pretty much anything on land and water, and, of course, X-31, not to speak of deadly X-32. And then, of course, comes this issue of anti-missile systems.
Butt-hurt (nothing new here) Mark Episkopos (another humanities-"educated" so called "expert" from, and you guessed it, The National Interest) already tried to spin BS about S-500.
Mark Episkopos, being an "expert" he is, and citing Sputnik, for some reason, arrives to a strange conclusion about S-500 capability to "reliably" detect F-35. Obviously for people not acquainted with modern battlefield, netcentricity and sensor fusion it may come as a surprise that modern truly integrated AD system sees any so called "stealth" targets and is able to develop targeting for Buk-M3, S-300, S-350, S-400 etc. Moreover, ancient Soviet S-125, when used by skillful Serbs in 1999, also had little problem shooting down what then was advertised as "invisible" F-117. The persistent of "Stealth" myth, and meme, in the US is astonishing, to the point of folly. It is especially true for people in US media who, by definition, are completely removed from analytical apparatus required to understand a complexity of modern warfare.
But what Putin was talking about in terms of a defense from future hyper-sonic weapons, most likely are not just S-500, which is stated to be able to detect, track and shoot down hyper-sonic weapons, especially ones which will be flying at Mach=5-6 (S-400 can do this already). He was most likely talking about defense against what could be defined as "strategic" hyper-sonic gliders which fly at M=20+ and that is a completely different type of weapon and requires a different, from merely hard-kill by anti-missile, approach. Obviously, Russia deploys, now world-famous, meowing A-235 Nudol, and this system becoming mobile is a serious step in countering pretty much any type of exoatmosperic or atmospheric high-velocity and maneuvering targets. But rule of thumb tells us that we, in addition to such missile systems as S-500 or Nudol, may expect appearance of something truly revolutionary which is still hidden behind curtain of secrecy in Russia. Lasers? Sure, we already know about them, like Peresvet, but something tells me some other physics could be involved. In the end, many still cannot get a full meaning of this demonstration which speaks volumes for professionals.
We just have to wait and see.