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Russia May Have Conventional Hypersonic Weapons in as Few as Five Years

Russian Iskander ballistic missiles seen during a May parade rehearsal in Moscow's Red Square. Russia reportedly intends to arm all of its missile brigades with the weapons before 2019 (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko). Russian Iskander ballistic missiles seen during a May parade rehearsal in Moscow's Red Square. Russia reportedly intends to arm all of its missile brigades with the weapons before 2019 (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko).

The Russian military anticipates fielding conventional weapons with speeds as fast as Mach 5 or greater between 2018 and 2025, ITAR-Tass reported on Sunday, citing the deputy defense minister, Yuri Borisov.

Russia is pursuing so-called prompt global strike as a counter to U.S. efforts to develop such capabilities.

"Ultra-fast hypersonic weapons may be able to reach Russian territory virtually in no time to accurately hit strategic facilities, and we shall have nothing to fight back with," Borisov said in an interview with radio Ekho Moskvy.

"We have been conducting the same sort of research, too," the deputy minister continued. "It would be just silly to expect that we shall just stay idle and wait. We hope to have such weapons at about the same time" as the United States, which is projected to begin wielding them within the next five to eight years, he said.

Separately, every Russian missile brigade is set to be outfitted with Iskander M ballistic missiles no later than 2018, RIA Novosti reported on Friday.

The Iskander M, with its top flight distance of 174 miles, "has no match in the world for its tactical specifications," Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said during a tour of a Russian missile unit in the Astrakhan region.

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