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Putin says latest test of hypersonic warhead successful

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President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he witnessed a final test of a hypersonic glide vehicle, one of a series of new weapons that will be able to overcome existing and future defences.

[MOSCOW] President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he witnessed a final test of a hypersonic glide vehicle, one of a series of new weapons that will be able to overcome existing and future defences.

"The test was a success," Mr Putin told government officials after the test, which was conducted in Kamchatka in the Far East and monitored from Moscow by the president and other officials. "Russia has a new kind of strategic weapon."

He said deployment of the glide vehicle, called Avangard and launched from intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), will begin next year. It can carry conventional or nuclear weapons and maneuver past defenses, according to Russian officials.

The weapon was one of several that Mr Putin touted in his state-of-the-nation speech early this year as Russia's answer to US missile defences. He said Avangard "heads for its target like a meteorite."

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