Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces has test fired a RS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile on October 25, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. Russian military analysts believe that the launch was a test of a new hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), the YU-71, also known as Project 4202, a warhead purportedly capable of penetrating any missile defense shield.
Senior Russian defense officials have repeatedly stated that Russia’s defense industry is working on fielding hypersonic weapon system capable of penetrating advanced missile defense systems by the early 2020s. One of the major difficulties remains the YU-71 HGV’s accuracy since engineers have so far been unsuccessful in developing functioning missile control system, according to a Russian defense industry source. Missile scientists also need to develop new materials that can withstand temperatures of 1,500˚C, generated by speeds of Mach 5 and above.
The hypersonic gliding phase enables the YU-71 HGV not only to maneuver aerodynamically and perform extreme evasive moves and also extends the range of the missile.
The YU-71 could eventually be mounted on Russia’s new super-heavy thermonuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS-28 Sarmat. With its 10 heavy or 15 (some sources say 16) lighter warheads
The Russian Defense Ministry announced at the beginning of 2016 that the Strategic Missile Forces would test-launch a total of 16 ICBM throughout the year, with 14 dedicated to testing new missiles and warheads including the RS-28 Sarmat
SOURCES- Dimmitomsk, The Diplomat
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