President Vladimir Putin is bursting with pride. He's certain Russia's brace of new weapons have no foreign equivalents. And he believes this will give his country an edge for decades to come.
President Putin, speaking at a meeting with his top military brass in Moscow, singled out his new Kinzhal hypersonic missile and the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, saying they have significantly bolstered Russia's military capability, reports news.com.au.
"No one has hypersonic weapons yet, but we have it," he said.
And that's no idle boast.
Also overnight, the US government admitted it is powerless to defend against these 'game changer' hypersonic weapons. The Government Accountability Office says their speed, altitude and maneuverability simply make them too difficult to stop.
The report states: "There are no existing countermeasures."
The Kinzhal missile — reportedly capable of flying as fast as 12,500km/h — has already been commissioned by Russia's military, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said, adding that Mig-31 combat jets carrying the missiles have flown 89 patrol missions ver the Caspian and the Black Seas this year.
Shoigu said the Avangard glider will enter service with the military in 2019. This is launched on the back of a conventional ballistic missile. But, once it is detached, it can twist, turn and dive before striking its target like a meteor.
The US Government report also places fresh credibility at the feet of US President Donald Trump's new Space Command — which was signed into existence via executive order earlier this week.
"China and Russia are developing anti-satellite weapons to threaten US space operations," it reads. "China is developing capabilities to conduct large-scale anti-satellite strikes using novel physical, cyber, and electronic warfare means."
President Vladimir Putin rejected a US accusation that Russia has developed a new nuclear-capable cruise missile in violation of a key treaty. Putin said he has no need for such a land-based weapon because there were already similar missiles on its ships and aircraft.
Washington warned this month it would suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days if Russia did not return to full compliance.
The US claims the 9M729 cruise missile already breaches the INF, which bans all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.
Putin said the Russian military has successfully tested air-launched Kh-101 and sea-launched Kalibr cruise missiles with a range of 4,500 kilometres in combat in Syria.
"It has probably made our partners worry, but it doesn't violate the INF treaty," Putin said.
Putin asserts the treaty signed by US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev didn't limit sea- and air-launched cruise missiles, which the Soviet Union didn't have at the time and the United States did.
The Russian president argued that the pact represented "unilateral disarmament" for the Soviet Union, adding: "God only knows why the Soviet leadership did it."
He emphasised that with Russian strategic bombers and navy ships now armed with long-range cruise missiles, it makes the development of similar land-based weapons redundant.
"It makes no difference whatsoever if we have a Kalibr-armed submarine or aircraft carrying missiles or similar weapons ashore," he said. "We can strike any targets within the range of 4,500 kilometres from the territory of Russia."
Putin added, however, that Russia could easily build such land-based missiles if the US opts out of the INF Treaty, which he described as a key stabilising factor.
"If we have similar air- and sea-launched systems, it wouldn't be that difficult for us to do some research and development to put them on land if needed," he said.
The treaty resolved a crisis over Soviet nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles targeting Western capitals, but put no restrictions on other major military actors like China.
"Yes, indeed there are certain difficulties with this treaty," Putin said. "Other countries possessing short- and intermediate-range missiles are not party to it. But what prevents (us) from starting talks on their accession to the existing treaty or starting negotiating the parameters of a new treaty?"
Putin has said about a dozen countries were producing missiles of the type banned by the INF treaty.