As if nuclear weapons weren't ominous enough, Russia is now testing a new series of nuclear weapon systems that include a supersonic cruise missile capable of bypassing NATO defense systems.
At least that is what Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed during his state of the nation speech to federal legislators. The Russian leader confirmed tests of a new intercontinental ballistic missile complex codenamed Sarmat.
The system is said to weigh more than 200 tons and has an increased range over its predecessor. Putin also claimed the new ICBM was capable of flying at minimal altitude. "No anti-missile system – even in the future – has a hope of getting in its way," he boasted.
The new weapons system has no doubt been in the making for awhile, but the timing of the announcement seems to coincide with remarks from the Trump administration about plans to develop new nuclear arms. The recent move by both the US and now Russia calls into question the future of arms-control agreements between the two nations.
There were also several other major announcements in Putin's speech including new Russia is developing new underwater drones capable of carrying nuclear bombs. The new drones come with their own codename as well, Status-6.
Putin described them to be capable of traveling in deep water "at speeds many times that of current submarines, the most modern torpedoes and even the speediest of surface boats." An animation was shown depicting the new submarine destroying a Nato-resembling aircraft-carrier strike force near a seaside town prompting a round of applause from the audience.
"They thought we would never be able to recover economically, militarily, so ignored our complaints. They didn’t listen, but perhaps they will listen now," he said. Putin stepped up military development in response to the 2002 US withdrawal from the treaty on anti-ballistic weapons systems.
"Their ability to move around missile shield intercepts make them invincible for all current and projected anti-missile and anti-aircraft system," Putin added.
Igor Sutyagin, a military expert at the Royal United Services Institute, wasn't buying it. Sutyagin said the claims amount to little more than "horror stories". "I'm not sure if he understands what he said about low altitude, but intercontinental ballistic missiles have been flying at low altitude since at least the 1980s," Sutyagin said.
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