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The Russian air force has successfully test-launched its new hypersonic missile which was shot from a MiG-31 jet. The Russian Ministry of Defense released a video of the plane that took off from an airfield in south-western Russia. “The launch went according to plan: the hypersonic missile hit its target,” the ministry statement read.
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According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kinzhal missile is "an ideal weapon" travelling at ten times the speed of sound with a range of 2,000 kms.
During his State of the Nation speech earlier this month, he explained that the ‘invincible missile’ was developed as a response to the US withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty in 2002.
The US Defence Secretary, Mr James Mattis, was asked by reporters about the new development and said: “I saw no change to the Russian military capability and each of these systems that he’s talking about that are still years away, I do not see them changing the military balance. They do not impact any need on our side for a change in our deterrence posture.”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MiG?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MiG</a>-31BM 91 Red armed with <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Kinzhal?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Kinzhal</a> hypersonic air-to-surface missile taking off from 929th State Flight Testing Centre (GLITs) in Akhtubinsk, YuVO.<br>Stills from <a href="https://t.co/PmtpizQLHE">https://t.co/PmtpizQLHE</a> <a href="https://t.co/EShwyYa3PF">pic.twitter.com/EShwyYa3PF</a></p>— RussianDefence.com (@Russian_Defence) <a href="https://twitter.com/Russian_Defence/status/972816904854306820?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 11, 2018</a></blockquote>
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“It doesn’t change anything other than how much money do they want to spend on something that does not change at all the strategic balance.”
The launch comes at an excellent time for Mr Putin as Russia sees elections next week where many expect him to be chosen for a fourth term. According to political analysts this is a great way to prove to the Russian people that he remains fit to lead after two decades in power.