The Russian defense ministry broadcast a video of its troops transporting a missile to a launch silo, slowly raising it into vertical position and then lowering into a silo shaft, Reuters reported Thursday

The video, broadcast on Zvezda TV, was said to be shot at the Dombarovsky missile base in the Orenburg region near Kazakhstan. The missile was said to be fitted with an Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) warhead.  

This demonstration occurred almost exactly a year after a similar broadcast on Nov. 18, 2022, the narration of which doubled down on the claim that the Avangard missile was “impossible to intercept” – just as had been said about its Kinzhal, before Ukraine intercepted several during attacks on Kyiv.


According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the US 2002 withdrawal from the ABM Treaty forced Russia to start developing hypersonic weapons.  

He said: “We had to create these weapons in response to the US deployment of strategic missile defense systems, which in the future would be capable of virtually neutralizing our nuclear potential.”  

The Avangard missile system – billed as being able to fly at speeds of up to Mach 27 – was one of six “next generation” weapons unveiled by Putin during his Presidential Address to Russia’s Federal Assembly in Moscow in March 2018.

He has repeatedly stated since then that he is developing hypersonic weapons to ensure Russian strategic forces can defeat current and future US air and missile defenses.  

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Reports circulating on social media claimed the missiles were being fired at Ukraine’s Kharkiv region in Russia’s latest offensive.

The “super weapons” were the Avangard HGV, the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, the Zircon and Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, the Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle, and the Sarmat super-heavy ICBM.  

Development of the Avangard  

Russian research into hypersonic warheads began under the Soviet Union in the 1980s, which was expanded in the mid-1990s with the designation “Project 4202.”


Ironically, further development was delayed because of Russia’s 2014 military invasion of Ukraine as critical components for the HGV’s control systems were of Ukrainian design and manufacture.  

This forced Russia to launch research and development into a replacement.

The re-engineered Avangard HGV was test fired In December 2018 from the Dombarovsky missile base. It was fitted to SS-19 Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) which carried it more than 6,000 kilometers before it hits its target in the Kura shooting range in Kamchatka.

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced, via the TASS state news site in December 2019 that it had deployed its first Avangard-equipped operational regiment to the Dombarovsky missile base.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced at the same time that the defense forces would deploy “31 launchers [equipped] with the Yars and Avangard ICBMs” on combat duty with the Strategic Missile Forces.


Avangard Technical Specifications

Russia claims that Avangard’s range is more than 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles), weighs around 2,000 kilograms (4,400 pounds), with either a 2-megaton nuclear or conventional high explosive warhead.


The Avangard is carried on an intercontinental ballistic missile, currently the RS-18A ICBM (NATO reporting name SS-19 Stiletto), which will in time be replaced by the R-28 “Sarmat/ Satan II.

The HGV is carried to a sub-orbital altitude of around 100 kilometers (62 miles) by the carrier missile before being released.

It then enters into a “cruise mode” before re-entering the atmosphere and accelerating to claimed speeds of between Mach 20 and Mach 27. It is said to be able to maneuver at these speeds and constantly alter its trajectory making interception extremely complicated.

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies missile threat project, there are no publicly available images of the Avangard HGV other than “artist’s impressions,” which suggest it is “a short wedge-shaped design” which does not contain a separate propulsion system, relying on gravity and its aerodynamic features to maintain velocity after an initial boost.

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Comments (3)
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More and more experts and even countries are talking about how Ukraine actually didn't manage to shoot down even single islander missile and kinzhal is serious wishful thinking. Is this true?
Even American experts are doubting your claims and not to forget, the only picture you people showed as proof that is allegedly kinzhal warhead, turned to be two separate warheads with obvious different sizes. If we take the fact how Russia showed proof for every shoot down missile, how Ukraine couldn't? They shoot down shadow storm, showed picture reliable proof, shoot down atcams, showed picture as a proof, himars too and you claim how you downed so many kinzhals, but couldn't find a single fragment that would prove your statement? Not even Islander proof. You could obtain serial number from detonated zircon missile that was launched, but you couldn't find serial number when kinzhal is in question?
I personally doubting you have downed these missiles.
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ruZZia has NO 2 megatons warheads, their largest one is 800 kilotons, and they also told that their Kh-47 Kinzhal was impossible to intercept while it was intercepted by Patriot, an end 70's US SAM system that is seen as totally obsolete comparing to SAMP/T-NG etc, and the Kh-47 factory has just been destroyed by Ukraine, their nuclear-propelled cruise missile created a mini nuclear blast when they tested the engine, killing most of the main scientist working on it, the RS-28 Sarmat test ended with the missile exploding before leaving the atmosphere, the Yars ICBM and Bulava SLBM, both developed from the Topol-M weren't able to reach their targets, the 3M22 Zircon test footage showed the launch of a P-500 Bazalt which was introduced in 1970, the Poseidon drone-submarine shown to the public is totally unable of the announced super-cavitation, and BTW, the announcement of a 200 megatons warhead creating a radioactive tsunami able to fully cover the UK is utter BS that totally ignores how nuclear blasts behave in the water...
Putler's "wunderwaffen" are gaslighting, and when you know a little about nuclear weapons, it's also ECONOMICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for ruzzia to have an arsenal made of 6000 warheads, in fact, they can't even afford the maintenance of 500 warheads

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@Zn02, Yoi comment is lne big nonsense. It's example of a kid that doesn't understand how the things are working.
Ukraine never intercepted a single Islander M and we shouldn't even talk about intercepting kinzhal missile. Just because they used such propaganda, doesn't mean we should buy it. How after so many downed, they couldn't find a single fragment that would prove that really belongs to a kinzhal missile? How they could obtain Zircon missile fragments after first launched and even take picture and show the model number, but couldn't provide anything about kinzhal? How Russian forces could provide pictures of downed atcams, proof about downed shadow storm, but Ukraine couldn't provide reliable proof about downed kinzhal? And how the only two proof pictures about downed kinzhal warheads turned to have different sizes? Sorry, but no one believes them in source like "trust me bro".
About Russia not having 2mg warheads.
Ignoring the fact that they managed to make 50mt bomb in '60s is nonsense and very naive.
About Russia having only 600 warheads. Well, first I don't know from where came this number and second, they had an agreement with Americans and they both were visiting each other and inspecting their warheads. So, if Americans say Russia have almost 6000 warheads, then they really have.
You're proof of someone who has 0 knowledge, but is willing spreading nonsense due hate.