Russia says it has successfully test-launched a hypersonic missile, one of a range of nuclear-capable weapons touted as “invincible” by President Vladimir Putin earlier this month.
The Russian defence ministry released video footage showing the missile detaching from a fighter jet and leaving a fiery trail behind it. The ministry said its intended target was successfully hit.
Mr Putin described the Kinzhal missile – named after a type of dagger – as “an ideal weapon” while speaking at the annual state-of-the-nation address on March 1.
He said it was part of a new stockpile of “invincible” weapons that made NATO’s US-led missile defence “useless”.
The Kinzhal is said to travel at 10 times the speed of sound and have a range of 2000 kilometres.
The defence ministry said the missile was launched from a MiG-31 jet that took off from an airfield in south-west Russia on Saturday.
“The launch went according to plan, the hypersonic missile hit its target,” it said.
— Joseph Dempsey (@JosephHDempsey) March 10, 2018
Mr Putin played a video graphic that appeared to show missiles raining down on the US state of Florida during his address earlier this month.
“Russia still has the greatest nuclear potential in the world, but nobody listened to us,” he said.
“You listen to us now.”
The US state department has since responded by saying his rhetoric was not “the behaviour of a responsible international player”.
The footage of the missile test comes as US Defence Secretary James Mattis expressed skepticism at the supposedly new, high tech Russian missiles.
“I get paid to make strategic assessments. And I would just tell you that I saw no change to the Russian military capability and each of these systems [Mr Putin] is taking about that are still years away,” he said Monday morning (AEDT).
Mr Mattis also blamed Russia for the Syria government’s chemical weapons stockpile.
Moscow said it would help eliminate the stockpile as part of an agreement in 2013, but the US says Syria used the weapons on civilians last year.
“Russia was the framework guarantor that [Syrian leader Bashar Assad] would get rid of all of it,” Mr Mattis said.