Russia claims successful final test of new hypersonic missile

Russia conducted a final test on a hypersonic nuclear-capable missile that can fly at 20 times the speed of sound, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

Putin described the test, in which a missile was fired at a target more than 3,500 miles away on the Kamchatka Peninsula, as an “absolute success.”

He said the missile would be ready for use next year and would make current missile protection systems obsolete. Putin said the intercontinental “Avangard” system was a “wonderful, perfect New Year’s gift for the country.”

The U.S. also is developing hypersonic missiles, but its efforts are not as far along. The Pentagon has been concerned about an arms race among the U.S., Russia, and China to produce the missiles, which combine speed with precision.

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