While Russia’s military is struggling in many ways, the Kremlin is working hard to fix it. With a new ballistic missiles, new submarines launching from shipyards, and the world’s newest tank, Russia looks to be modernizing as fast as it can. If the modernization program survives Russia’s economic woes, here are seven new weapon systems that will likely be completed.
1. New nuclear submarines
In addition to building more of their brand new, fourth-generation submarines, Russia is already planning a fifth-generation sub. Details on the fifth-generation are slowly being fleshed out, but Russia wants the subs to network with each other and underwater drones, use onboard robotics for certain tasks, and feature a new nuclear reactor.
2. Hypersonic missiles
Russia’s hypersonic missile program has been plagued by failed tests, but it still has potential. The Yu-71 would be able to fly unpredictable patterns to its targets at speeds of 7,000 miles per hour, piercing air defenses. While the U.S. also has a hypersonic program, the U.S. missiles are designed for conventional warheads while Russia’s call for nuclear capabilities.
Russia is also jointly-developing the BrahMos II hypersonic cruise missile with India.
3. A stealthy, heavy-lift strategic bomber
The PAK-DA is expected to be subsonic with a range of 7,500 miles and capable of carrying a payload of about 30 tons. It’s a huge step down from Russia’s original plans for a hypersonic bomber, but it may be stealthy enough to get cruise missiles into range against carriers and other targets.
4. An “off switch” for enemy communications and weapons guidance
An electronic warfare system in development supposedly allows Russia to shut off any approaching threats, everything from NATO ships to missiles to future hypersonic weapons. If successfully launched on planes and ships, it could also be used to shut down enemy defenses during a Russian attack.
5. New air defense missiles
While the S-300 is in the news right now, the S-500 would be two generations beyond it. The S-500 is expected to be capable of engaging five to ten ballistic missiles at once and even hitting low-orbit satellites. It will be able to move between engagements, avoiding counter attacks.
Russia claims its laser program is on the same level as the U.S., but the system is fully classified. If accurate, it would mean that Russia’s lasers are capable or nearly capable of taking out enemy vehicles, drones, and boats, all weapons systems America relies on.
7. Aircraft carriers
Russia’s carrier prospects are dicey, but if the ship makes it to the sea it will be much better than their current carrier. Roughly the same size as a U.S. Nimitz carrier, it would have 4 launching positions and an air wing of 80-90 aircraft.