Russia has made operational it’s new hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) named Avangard.

More about the news:

  • With the induction of Avangard it appears that Russia has beaten the U.S. and China in deploying the HGV. But even the U.S.A and China are also close to achieving the capability in HGV.
  • The U.S. has moved from the research to the development stage in HGV. This is to be used mainly for attacking time-sensitive targets with conventional warheads.
  • China also has recently demonstrated a medium­-range missile with the HGV named  DF­17 with dual­-use(nuclear+conventional) capability.


About Avangard

  • According to Russian claims, this nuclear ­armed HGV can fly at over 20 times the speed of sound
  • With proper manoeuvring it can be invulnerable to interception by any existing and prospective missile defence means.
  • It is to be launched atop an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV)

  • It can fly for long distances at speeds higher than 5 Mach at lower altitudes.
  • It can follow either ballistic or cruise trajectory.
  • Due to high speed, interception by current Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) systems is highly unlikely.
  • Possibility of a high degree of manoeuvring brings in warhead and destination ambiguities.


Implications of adopting new technology

  • As these missiles are being added in the arsenal of countries that possess nuclear weapons. The major use of them is likely to be an attack on nuclear assets to degrade retaliation.
  • Warhead and nuclear ambiguities in the HGVs are going to lead the nations into an offensive-defence spiral eventually.
  • Without proper strategic dialogue or arms control,the stage appears set for an arms race instability given that the three major players in this game have the financial and technological capability to do so. 

This can lead us into Weaponization of space as counter measures to hypersonics have been envisaged through placement of sensors and interceptors in outer space.