In which Russia leads the world and very many of those fields will be what is known as real high-technology fields in which only not just powerful but truly economic superpowers compete. Russia is definitely in the top 2 in terms of space technologies, while in terms of propulsion is #1 and with Zevs coming on-line by the end of this decade, she will have no competitors. In terms of nuclear energy, it's production and application (nuclear ice-breakers and floating power-stations)--absolutely #1, there are some really fascinating things Russians do in medicine which do not earn much publicity but in terms of some surgical practices ranging from eyes to internal organs--some of them are unique. Russian higher STEM education is certainly one of the best in the world, in some fields it is the best, so the list is long.
Now, after Vladimir Putin's interview to the federal channel Rossiya-1 (TASS reports in Russian), and what he stated there many in the West noticed.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is the global leader in hypersonic missiles and, by the time other countries catch up, is likely to have developed technology to counteract these new weapons, President Vladimir Putin said. Russia and the United States have an approximate parity when if comes to the number of warheads and their carriers, Putin said in comments aired on Sunday as part of a documentary film called "Russia. New History". "But in our advanced developments, we are definitely the leaders," Putin said, adding that Russia is also No. 1 in the world by the scale of upgrades of its traditional weapons. The president said that in the future, other world powers would possess similar hypersonic weapon technology. "When they get this weapon, it is highly likely will have means to fight this weapon." Putin said last month that tests of Russia's Zircon hypersonic cruise missile are nearing completion and deliveries to the navy will begin in 2022.
Putin said nothing new here what hasn't been known for a while. Yet, even documentary which was shot in 2020 in which Putin makes those statements attracted enough attention for Reuters (and others) to make the news out of it. It is not a news anymore. For starters anti-missile complexes having full capability to fight perspective hypersonic weapons are already here. The line of S-550, S-500 or S-300V4 together with S-350 are already being deployed or nearing IOC. And here is the addition to this list--modern Russian anti-air-anti-missile defense simply has no rivals already. And I mean it is not even fair, and that is what many journalists forget to mention--modern wars are fought by networks and here too, Russia leads the world.
This phrase also is of note:
U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told Reuters last month that the United States and China were engaged in an arms race to develop the most lethal hypersonic weapons. In October, the top U.S. military officer, General Mark Milley, confirmed a Chinese hypersonic weapons test that military experts say appears to show Beijing's pursuit of an Earth-orbiting system designed to evade American missile defences.
As I am on record constantly--there is a complete confusion among Western talking heads and even some military people in terms of what hypersonic weapons are. I agree with Kendall, the US and China are engaged in the arms race but Russia is not in it, because unlike China and US, Russia has strategic hypersonic weapons not just in development but they are fully developed and are fully deployed, with Avangard system being expanded in numbers constantly, as Valery Gerasimov told to foreign military attaches in Russia yesterday (in Russian). But as I am also on record constantly and remind it ad nauseam: neither US nor China are anywhere near such weapon system as 3M22 Zircon. There is simply nothing out there which approaches this missile in its characteristic and capabilities.
The best that the US can do now is to create (and that is what so much fuss was about in US media) some sort of quasi-ballistic "glider" by means of strapping the SM-3 enlarged motor to some sort of allegedly maneuvering vehicle which is somewhat similar in its performance to Iskander, but with a longer range. Neither China nor US have fully NON-ballistic anti-shipping (and land-attack) hypersonic missile capable to do what Zircon does--fully powered maneuverable flight to a distance of 1,000 kilometers and M=9. M=12+ 1,500 kilometer range Zircon is already in works. And when Vladimir Putin ends his interviews with such phrase when speaking about hypersonic weapons appearing in the US arsenal, one gets full impression that we might be for a second round of revelations similar to his speech on 1 March, 2018:
Оно появится. Но мне думается, что мы сможем приятно удивить наших партнеров тем, что, когда у них это оружие появится, с большой долей вероятности у нас появится средство борьбы с этим оружием"
Translation: This weapon (hypersonic) will appear. But I think we will be able with high probability to pleasantly surprise our partners, when they will get this weapon, with means of fighting this weapon.
Those who know Putin get it immediately that it is a combination of trolling and implied admission of the existence of something that we didn't see yet. I am sure we are all in for a surprise. We know where Zircon takes us (I will soon resume my Salvo Warfare posts) but even available data on S-550 is truly terrifying. What's next? S-600 with 2,000 km range against aerodynamic targets and full mid-course intercept of any ballistic targets? Why not. The trend is obvious, warfare changed dramatically. As some actual military professionals from the US noted:
In the event of a military clash between Russia and Ukraine, most of the Ukrainian troops will be destroyed in 30-40 minutes. This was stated by Robert Lee, professor at King’s College London and veteran of the United States Marine Corps, in an interview with The New York Times on Thursday, December 9. “If Russia does indeed use its weapons, they can cause enormous damage in a very short period of time. They can destroy Ukrainian troops in the east very quickly, within the first 30-40 minutes, ”the expert emphasized.
So, think about it--in the land warfare you cannot hide properly, that means the tracking of movement and targeting is constant, all you need today is to receive targeting, turn on systems of launch preparation, allow few seconds for developing a firing solution (developing of a flight plan) and then... Well, BDA and mopping up. Did you hear about Russia's conventional forces lately? I suggest you take a gander.