US “Not Surprised” By Russia’s Claim to Have New “Invincible” Nuclear Weapon

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson speaks at a Heritage Foundation event in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Screenshot from Heritage video.?

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia has developed a new cruise missile that is capable of carrying a nuclear weapon and has “practically unlimited range,” an “unpredictable flight path,” and is “invincible” against current and future air and missile defense systems, according to a video with translated subtitles posted by the BBC.

When asked about Russia’s claims during a Thursday press briefing, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White repeatedly said the Defense Department was “not surprised by the statement.” She declined to elaborate but said, “the American people should rest assured that we are fully prepared.”

The United States’ recently released National Defense Strategy “makes it very clear” that “we’re back in an era of great power competition, and there are two threats we need to focus on primarily, and that’s China and Russia,” said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson during a Thursday event at the Heritage Foundation.

She said it would be “inappropriate” to speak specifically to how the US would counter such a threat, or the role the Air Force would play in that, but she highlighted the fact that the service’s Fiscal 2019 budget request looks to speed up its next-generation missile warning capabilities.

The Air Force announced last month it no longer planned to procure the seventh and eighth Space-Based Infrared System satellites, putting funds instead toward the next-generation Overhead Persistent Infrared System, which would launch in the 2020s.

See also: Strategic Deterrence in 2018 from Air Force Magazine’s March issue and Nuclear Rohrshach from the April issue.