Russia announces successful flight test of Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle

03 January 2019

An UR-100N UTTH ICBM system equipped with the Avangard HGV before installation into a silo launcher. Source: Russian MoD

Russian President Vladimir Putin on 26 December 2018 announced a successful initial all-up flight test of the Avangard (Vanguard) hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV).

According to Putin, the Avangard HGV (previously designated Objekt 4202, Yu-71, and Yu-74) 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," said Putin.

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' (Raketnye voyska strategicheskogo naznacheniya - RVSN) RS-18B/UR-100UTTKh SS-19 Mod 3 'Stiletto', R-36M2, and RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

The Avangard system has already been integrated onto the UR-100UTTKh ICBM, according to Russian Security Council member, Sergei Ivanov. "We have several dozen brand new UR-100N UTTH ICBMs, with which the Avangard fits very well," he said. According to Ivanov, the new HGV also complies with the existing strategic arms reduction treaties, including the New START (SNV-3).

RVSN Commander Colonel General Sergey Karakayev confirmed on 17 December 2018 that RVSN's Dombarovo Missile Division would receive the first Avangard HGVs integrated with the UR-100N UTTKh ICBMs in 2019. The UR-100N UTTH (SS-19 mod. 3 Stiletto) ICBM weighs 105.6 tonnes and carries a 4,350 kg payload. The baseline variant of the missile is fitted with six HGVs. Col Karakayev said the RVSN will stand up two missile regiments, each equipped with six Avangard systems by 2027.

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