At the end of December, the first Vanguard hypersonic systems entered the Russian strategic missile forces on duty. it weapon differs in high characteristics and wide combat capabilities, and therefore naturally attracts the attention of the foreign press. Accordingly, the beginning of his combat duty was the reason for a new wave of publications in foreign media.
One of the first on news American newspaper The New York Times reacted from Russia. Already on December 27, she published the material “Russia Deploys Hypersonic Weapon, Potentially Renewing Arms Race”, in which she tried to predict the consequences of the appearance of the combat-ready “Vanguard”.
According to NYT, data on the availability of the Avangard system and its highest capabilities are obtained not only from official Russian sources. Unnamed US officials also talk about the existence of such weapons. Moreover, they warn that a complex with characteristics of such a level will significantly increase the potential of Russian strategic forces, which are already quite powerful.
However, the newspaper cites the opinion that there are no particular risks associated with Avangard. She quotes the executive director of the Arms Control Supporters Association in the United States, Daryl J. Kimball, who points out that no more than a few dozen Vanguards have been deployed in Russia. Given the mass of other strategic weapons, such a number of hypersonic systems cannot significantly increase the risks for the United States.
The New York Times sees in Vanguard not only a strike system, but also a political instrument. The START III treaty expires in February next year, and Moscow wants to extend it or replace it with a new similar agreement. Washington does not want to sign a new bilateral treaty - it is in its interests to include new parties, such as China, in the START. However, Beijing is not going to voluntarily accept any restrictions on the strategic nuclear forces.
In such a situation, the Vanguard system and other promising weapons can be an instrument of pressure on the United States. Taking advantage of its superiority in hypersonic technology, Russia could force Washington to begin negotiations to extend or replace the current START III. With all this, the Avangard complex is hardly considered in Russia as the first step in a new arms race.
On January 2, the German edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) published its opinion on the Vanguard issue. An article on this subject was called "Der Hype um Putins" Wunderwaffe "" - "The hype around Putin’s miracle weapon."
Considering the new Russian weapons, the author of the German publication suggests that the technological superiority of Avangard is unpleasant for Western countries, but the real benefits of these weapons are exaggerated. Russia and the United States already have large nuclear arsenals - START III allows them to deploy up to 1550 nuclear warheads in deployed form. All these weapons are capable of destroying the whole world, and several times. In such a situation, the American missile defense system or Russian hypersonic systems do not fundamentally change anything.
FAZ quoted German rocket expert Markus Schiller. He believes that the main effect of Vanguard is related to psychology. Russia plays with fears of foreign countries, and hypersonic weapons can exert psychological pressure. In a critical situation, such pressure can affect decision making.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung openly doubts the special combat value of the Vanguard complex. The newspaper believes that long-term military advantages cannot be expected. In the best case, such a system will facilitate the start of new negotiations in the field of arms control. Perhaps this time they will attract new participants. An alternative to such a development of events could be a new arms race in which the United States, Russia and, possibly, China will participate.
WT is studying
The theme of the Avangard complex was studied more thoroughly by the American publication The Washington Post. His article on this subject, entitled “Russian hypersonic hype may not match reality,” was released on January 5. The authors talked with American and foreign experts and give very interesting quotes.
WT recalls the news and messages of recent years. Regularly talked about progress in the field of hypersonic weapons and the soon arrival of such systems on combat duty in several countries, which should change the balance of power in the world. However, the newspaper suggests not to panic about this and draws attention to alternative opinions.
Like other media outlets, WT points out that the Avangard complex has not yet been tested in real combat conditions, and this makes it difficult to evaluate its capabilities. In addition, the newspaper doubts that such systems will give the Russian strategic nuclear forces any new opportunities beyond the existing ones. Apparently, without the "Vanguard", nuclear forces will be guaranteed to break through the US missile defense and strike.
WT cites the words of a specialist in rocket technology of the chief researcher of IMEMO RAS Alexander Savelyev. He believes that the development of the hypersonic direction is directly related to Moscow’s fears about further improving the US missile defense. To combat such a threat, fundamentally new strike systems are required that are capable of breaking through the defense.
According to A. Savelyev, the "Vanguard", not distinguished by high firing accuracy, should not be considered a means of the first disarming strike. With a relatively powerful warhead, from 800 ct to 2 mt, Avangard will not be able to implement the doctrine of escalation for de-escalation. An excessively powerful blow to the enemy can provoke his active response.
Quotes from George Washington University's Elliott School of International Relation, Ivan Elrich, are even more interesting. He accuses the media of an overly positive attitude towards hypersonic weapon designs and a lack of healthy skepticism. The press agrees with the opinions and conclusions of the military departments and the defense industry, not taking into account the extreme complexity of creating hypersonic complexes with the desired ratio of characteristics.
NRK almost admires
The Norwegian publication NRK does not agree with the American specialist and sees a real threat in Vanguard. This opinion was expressed in the article “Nytt russisk våpen kan sannsynligvis ikke stoppes” (“It seems that the new Russian weapons cannot be stopped”) dated January 2.
Considering the "Vanguard", the Norwegian publication provides already known data and news about the tactical and technical characteristics and expected capabilities. In addition, there are statements by various experts and conclusions are drawn.
So, the specialist of the Norwegian Naval Academy, Ina Holst-Pedersen Kwam, doubts the declared technical characteristics of the Vanguard. Moreover, the complex belongs to a whole category of such "dubious" developments. According to the expert, Moscow is deliberately exaggerating the parameters of its new weapons. The objective of this is probably to strengthen the credibility of Russian containment systems. There is also a pleasant “bonus” - it becomes more difficult for foreign experts to determine the real situation.
However, NRK gives another point of view, according to which the Avangard complex really has outstanding tactical and technical characteristics and is capable of threatening third countries. The publication also draws attention to the ability of a hypersonic complex to break through missile defense. Existing US systems of this kind can intercept high-speed ballistic targets with a predictable trajectory. The Vanguard maneuvers in flight, making it extremely difficult to defeat it.
NRK also recalled that the development of a hypersonic warhead is associated with the solution of a number of complex scientific and technical problems. If Russia was really able to create the “Vanguard”, showing the declared characteristics, then it managed to deal with these tasks.
Foreign media have not yet reached a consensus on the Russian hypersonic Avangard complex, and it is unlikely that this will ever happen. Nevertheless, in foreign publications there are several main trends.
First of all, there are certain doubts about the possibility of creating hypersonic weapons with all the declared characteristics and capabilities. There is also an opinion about the limited use of new weapons, which supposedly does not affect the existing balance of power. At the same time, some publications have no doubt that the new Russian weapons really have high characteristics and are dangerous for a potential enemy.
It must be recalled that the reason for the latest publications in foreign media was the news about the beginning of the combat duty of the Avangard complex. Thus, despite doubts, criticism, accusations, etc., Russia brought one of the most daring projects of our time to full operation. This fact gives foreign criticisms a very specific look. Meanwhile, the Vanguard system has entered service and ensures the security of the country.