Charles Richard noted that nuclear forces remain the cornerstone of Russia’s strategy.

Russia is currently the leading country in the field of hypersonic weapons. This was stated on Thursday by the head of the Strategic Command (STRATCOM), Admiral Charles Richard of the U.S. Armed Forces, at a symposium on missile and space defense in Huntsville (Alabama).

“Russia is engaged in the modernization of its conventional and strategic forces. Nuclear forces remain the cornerstone of Russia’s strategy, and it has already modernized them by 80%, including the means of delivering warheads. The modernization works are aimed at replacing Soviet launchers and intercontinental ballistic missiles with modern ones. Russia is the leading country in the world in hypersonic technologies, at least at the moment, and continues to invest in the development of supersonic technologies,” he said, speaking via video link.

The American admiral noted that Russia conducted successful tests of the Zircon hypersonic missile in July and even earlier announced the deployment of the Avangard hypersonic missile on combat duty.

Richard noted that while the United States was fighting terrorists in the Middle East, forgetting about the traditional threats of the Cold War, Russia and China were watching and adjusting their strategy to be able to resist Washington. He believes these are two countries that can be compared with the United States in strategic weapons and therefore allegedly pose a threat to them. “Russia has the potential to significantly increase the production of its nuclear weapons at the expense of existing production capacities,” Richard added. “Russia has a more developed missile defense than we do, and they continue to improve it.”

Challenges from Russia and China

The United States should not consider the challenges from Russia and China separately from each other, Richard said.

“I think it’s a mistake to think of them in isolation from each other,” he said. – In December 2020, for example, Russia and China conducted a joint air patrol of East China and Japan Seas. Just last month, Russia and China conducted large-scale exercises of the conventional armed forces. Their long-standing ties in the field of defense should not be underestimated or ignored.”

Richard added that the Russian Federation and China are the only countries that want not only to revise the existing world order but also have the capabilities to do so. He noted that this applies not only to the sphere of strategic nuclear weapons.

“We cannot ignore the threat posed to our nuclear weapons control system by Russia’s malicious activities in cyberspace. This applies not only to Russia but also to China,” he said.