US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s claims that Russia stole hypersonic weapon technologies from the United States are unfounded as domestic projects in this area kicked off back in the 1970s, military expert and Editor-in-Chief of Arsenal of the Fatherland journal Viktor Murakhovsky told on Thursday.
“Domestic hypersonic technologies rely on the gigantic scientific and technical potential created in the USSR. Publicly, these developments were mentioned by the Russian president only recently but they were started back in the 1970s. This work was carried out both for military purposes and for outer space exploration,” the expert pointed out.
The expert cited the example of the Buran orbital spacecraft, which flew at hypersonic speed (several kilometers per second) upon its re-entry into the atmosphere. For such a flight, “a host of hypersonic technologies had to be developed,” Murakhovsky noted.
Moreover, the Buran space shuttle did not appear from scratch, the expert stressed.
Long before it or before US space shuttle flights, the Soviet Research and Production Association Molniya led by Gleb Lozino-Lozinsky was developing a dual-purpose orbital aircraft called Spiral. Many technologies developed under this project were used in the Energia-Buran program, the expert said.
Since their development in the late 1950s, all the warheads of intercontinental ballistic missiles enter the atmosphere at a hypersonic speed, the expert noted. “A task was set at the time to ensure these warheads’ maneuver at hypersonic speeds and the work on it was underway.”
At an airshow in the 1990s, “when there was a period of full openness,” the Russian defense industry demonstrated a mock-up of an intercontinental ballistic missile warhead dubbed Yu-71, Murakhovsky said. “This was exactly a boost glide vehicle. Actually, the Avangard is a derivative of all these works.”
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“As for who stole from whom is a big question. As a rule, it is the thief who shouts ‘get the thief!’ the loudest of all. Although, I believe that parallel development took place: the USSR and the US were at about an equal scientific and technological level and were focused on dealing with symmetric tasks in outer space and in the military sphere and, therefore, they followed equal paths,” the expert explained.