Russia fires hypersonic missile in birthday blast for Vladimir Putin

Russia fires hypersonic missile in birthday blast for Vladimir PutinRussia's armed forces marked birthday of President Vladimir Putin's 68th birthday with the successful test launch of a hypersonic missile. The Tsikron missile, which can travel at 8 times the speed of sound, was launched on Tuesday from a vessel in the White Sea in Russia's north-west, said the chief of the General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov. It successfully hit its target in the Barents Sea, he added. The missile covered a distance of 450 kilometres in four and half-minutes after reaching a hypersonic speed of more than Mach 8. President Putin takes pride in hypersonic weapons, contrasting Russia's status as world-leader in their development with the Cold War when Moscow played catch-up to the US in terms of military technology. Mr Putin praised the test in remarks broadcast on television: “This is a major event not only in the life of the armed forces but also for all of Russia, for the whole country." Mr Putin has previously argued that Russia had to develop new weapons in response to the development of the US missile defence system that threatens to erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent.

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