Putin claims Russia is world leader on hypersonic weapons

Putin made the remarks at a Russian Defense Ministry board meeting, adding that “not a single country possesses hypersonic weapons, let alone continental-range hypersonic weapons,” according to a transcript released by the Kremlin.

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Like Russia, both the US and China are also working on hypersonic projects. Beijing said earlier this year that it tested a hypersonic aircraft, while the US Air Force has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to develop a missile.

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This time last year, Putin made similar claims, saying that the new hypersonic missile system would enter service in 2019 — something that has yet to happen.

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The Russian leader has already publicly showcased a number of advanced weapons that he says are capable of defeating US and NATO defenses, including a missile that can deliver a warhead at hypersonic speed.

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But analysts have in the past expressed caution that Russia’s boasts about its military capabilities are not often backed up. And the country has also seen significant setbacks, including a deadly accident earlier this year at a military test range.

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While the Kremlin has not confirmed specifics, the incident is suspected to have involved a nuclear-powered cruise missile known as the Burevestnik or Skyfall.

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On Tuesday, an advanced Russian Su-57 fighter crashed during a test flight in the Khabarovsk region, Russian state news agencies reported.

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State news agency TASS cited military industry officials as saying that a preliminary investigation concluded the crash was caused by a technical failure of the aircraft control system.

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The pilot ejected safely, TASS reported.

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