President Vladimir Putin boasted Russia has developed a new generation of hypersonic missiles in his state of the nation address on Thursday, warning global powers they must now reckon with Moscow's military might.
The strongman, who is standing for a fourth Kremlin term in March, displayed a series of hi-tech video montages of weaponry manoeuvring across mountains and oceans, even heading over the Atlantic.
The president quoted a speech he gave back in 2004 saying that Russia would develop a new generation of weaponry, a promise that he said has now been fulfilled.
“No one really wanted to talk to us basically. No one listened to us then. Listen to us now,” Putin said, prompting a standing ovation from the audience of top officials including Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Putin showed tests of a new missile complex of a type that he said is not owned by any other country.
The hypersonic missile system can fly at 20 times the speed of sound and manoeuvre up and down, he said, adding: “This makes it absolutely invincible for any forms of air and missile defence,” he boasted, calling it an “ideal weapon”.
Russia has also begun experimental use of a new small air-launched missile system called Kinzhal, or Dagger, that flies at 10 times the speed of sound with an unpredictable trajectory towards its target, Putin said.
This allows it to “overcome all existing and, I think, prospective air and missile defence systems”, Putin said.
In addition, Russia has developed unmanned underwater devices that move much faster than submarines and torpedoes and can carry nuclear warheads, Putin said, adding: “It's just fantastic!”
He also showed tests of a new cruise missile and an intercontinental ballistic missile complex called Sarmat and video footage of a laser weaponry system, before telling the audience: “That is enough for today.”
Russia has developed weaponry that is no longer simply continuing the Soviet legacy, after the military degenerated to a “woeful state” following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Putin said.
He praised a new generation of young scientists working on such weaponry, calling them “the heroes of our time”.
He also announced a competition to come up with names for the new weapons.
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