On 26 December 2018, Russia successfully carried out the launch of a liquid-fueled intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM) carrying the Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV) payload. Footage of the successful test was released immediately by Russian media, showing the missile’s hot launch from a silo. The Avangard glider itself was not seen in any released footage. It was launched on board a UR-100UTTKh ICBM from the Dombarovsky missile base in the Ural Mountains and subsequently hit a target at the Kura Missile Test Range. The missile’s payload separates after the booster’s powered flight into the exoatmosphere; after that, the hypersonic glide vehicle descends and maneuvers in the upper atmosphere to its target.
According to Putin, the Avangard was launched from the Dombarovskoye missile base in the southern Ural Mountains, flew about 6,000 km, “manoeuvering horizontally and vertically at hypersonic speeds” and successfully engaged a simulated target at the Kura Range in Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula.The Avangard has fully passed through its test program and will become operational on schedule. The weapon has fully confirmed its specifications”.
The Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (previously designated Objekt 4202, Yu-71, and Yu-74)is a modernized Russian delivery vehicle, designed to maneuver in the upper atmosphere at speeds in excess of Mach 5. The system entered service in March 2018, and was unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin as one of the six new Russian strategic weapons. The Avangard is the first operational hypersonic glide vehicle system deployed anywhere, China’s DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle is estimated by U.S. intelligence agencies to see deployment by 2020.
Developed by the NPO Mashinostroyenia Corporation and furnished with a solid propellant scramjet engine, Avangard has a claimed engagement speed of Mach 27 (32,202.36 kph). The HGV can reportedly be integrated as a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) with the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces RS-18B/UR-100UTTKh SS-19 Mod 3 ‘Stiletto’, R-36M2, and RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The Avangard has been demonstrated to operate at up to Mach 27 during the latest flight test. When approaching a target, the glider is capable of sharp high speed evasive maneuvers in flight, making it “absolutely invulnerable for any missile defence system