Putin Highlights Russia's Development of New 'Advanced Weapons Systems'

Vladimir Putin
November 18, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday underscored Moscow's pursuit of advanced weapons systems and commitment to maintaining forces that can "neutralize" threats to the country's security.

Russia like other countries is focusing on the development of laser, hypersonic, and robotic weapons, Putin said at a meeting on developing new types of weapons, according to remarks released by the Kremlin.

The meeting, which took place in Sochi and featured military leaders and arms developers, was one is a series of discussions about Russia's armed forces development.

"Warfare has always been an area where the use of advanced research and technology is essential. Today, in the 21st century, leading countries actively use the latest innovations in the development of the most promising weapons: lasers, hypersound, and robotics," Putin said. "Like other countries, Russia is also working on these developments."

"Close attention is being paid to the development of the so-called weapons based on new physical principles, weapons that have selective, pinpoint impact on critical elements of armaments, equipment, and infrastructure of the potential enemy," Putin said.

The Russian president did not go into detail about particular weapons systems being pursued.

American experts have repeatedly highlighted how Russia and China have been investing in military modernization and new weapons as budget constraints have compromised the U.S. military's own efforts to advance. Experts and military leaders generally point to Russia and China as leading challenges facing the United States.

Russia, for example, this year showed off the high-tech Armata T-14 medium tank currently under development, which a British military intelligence official described as the "most revolutionary step change in tank design in the last half century" in an internal document recently leaked to the the Telegraph. Moscow also recently unveiled its new super-heavy thermonuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile that will replace its so-called "Satan" missile from the Soviet era.

China, on the other hand, has rolled out a new J-20 stealth fighter jet and declared its aircraft carrier combat-ready.

Putin said Friday that Russia is seeking to ensure the "strategic balance of forces" in order to thwart military threats to Russia's national security, specifically mentioning new deployments of missile defense systems and the Pentagon's Prompt Global Strike Program to develop conventional weapons that would allow the U.S. to quickly strike any location in the world.

Russian officials have repeatedly objected to the U.S. missile defense program, arguing that the recent deployment of a missile shield to Europe threatens Russia's national security. Moscow has rejected the argument of American officials that the missile defense program is intended to ward off threats from Iran and North Korea.

"We will continue to do all we need to ensure the strategic balance of forces. We view any attempts to change or dismantle it, as extremely dangerous," Putin said Friday. "Our task is to effectively neutralize any military threats to Russia's security, including those posed by the newly-deployed strategic missile defense systems, the implementation of the Global Strike Concept, and information warfare."

Putin accused some countries of "nullifying" international agreements on missile defense, though he did not name any particular nations. "This is clearly done in an effort to gain unilateral advantages," he said.

Tensions between the United States and Russia have escalated since Moscow's intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea in 2014. Relations between the two countries have further broken down as a result of the ongoing civil war in Syria and the U.S. government's accusation that the Russian government attempted to influence the presidential election through cyber attacks.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative American think tank, recently rated Russia as a "formidable" and "aggressive" threat to U.S. interests based on Moscow's behavior and capabilities.