Russia has started a serial production of Avangard hypersonic boost-glide vehicles for its Strategic Missile Forces, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Aleksey Krivoruchko said on December 28.
“Equipment has been supplied for two stationary missile launchers to continue the re-equipment of the Kozelsky division of the Strategic Missile Forces with this type of missile system.
Work has begun on the serial production of the prospective Avangard missile system and the re-equipment of the Dombarovsky division of the Strategic Missile Forces with it,” Krivoruchko told the Defense Ministry’s official newspaper Red Star.
A day earlier, on Decemmber 27, the first regiment armed with the Avangard system entered service with the Russian Armed Forces, according to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Avangard gliding vehicle (source):
The development of a future ICBM with a brand-new payload type in the form of a gliding vehicle was the real technological breakthrough. The testing of Avangard has been successfully concluded. According to available information, Avangard can reach the top speed of Mach 20 and is one of the possible payload options for Sarmat.
The warhead can fly in dense layers of the atmosphere over intercontinental distances, while performing evasive dog-legs both horizontally (up to several thousand kilometers) and vertically. Specialists assess that the Avangard has not only an aerodynamic control system but also a propulsion system to be able to perform such maneuvers.
In spite of flying in a plasma cloud, the warhead can receive signals from its command center. It used to be an impossible task, since plasma blocks radio waves. Another challenge that was successfully overcome was the problem of heat insulation. It cannot be ruled out that the Avangard uses new generation high-temperature ceramic composites that use silicon carbide, capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 2,000 C. By mid-March it was announced that the first Avangard carriers would become the UR-100N UTTKh (SS-19 Stiletto) ICBMs that will most likely become part of the RS-24 Yars strategic missile system. About 30 of these missiles were delivered from Ukraine in the early ‘00s to cover natural gas debts. After the Soviet break-up, they were stored un-fueled. Once Sarmat is adopted, it too will carry Avangard warheads. The Russian MOD already signed a contract for serial delivery of Avangards, and they will enter line service in the near future.
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