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Russia to Field Hypersonic Cruise Missile by 2023

Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi before their meeting in New Delhi Jan. 21.

A Russia-India joint cruise missile research group will develop the world's first hypersonic cruise missile by 2023, the company's CEO was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying Wednesday.

The company was founded in 2005 with the goal of building a modern cruise missile for the Russian and Indian air forces. Their first weapon, the BrahMos I, is now considered to be one of the fastest supersonic missiles in the world, traveling at speeds up to three times the speed of sound, or 3,675 kilometers an hour.

Hypersonic missiles, a high research priority for top military powers like China and the United States, travel beyond five times the speed of sound, or 6,126 kilometers an hour.

"For the moment we are conducting studies. A group of specialists is working on the project. I think that development will take from seven to eight years," said CEO Sudhir Kumar Mishra at the Aero India 2015 air show in Bangalore.

"This will make it the first hypersonic missile in the world," he added.

Hypersonic weapons are the next step in missile development, promising to empower nations capable of developing them with the ability to strike targets in record time with devastating accuracy.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Bulgakov said on Tuesday that Russia has created a new type of fuel that is highly energetic, and can propel a missile — presumably the BrahMos II — to hypersonic speeds.

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