A Russian weapon the U.S. is currently unable to defend against will be ready for war by 2020, according to sources with direct knowledge of American intelligence reports.
The sources, who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity, said Russia successfully tested the weapon, which could carry a nuclear warhead, twice in 2016. The third known test of the device, called a hypersonic glide vehicle, was carried out in October 2017 and resulted in a failure when the platform crashed seconds before striking its target.
The latest revelations come more than two months after Russian President Vladimir Putin touted his nation's growing hypersonic arsenal as "invincible."
The hypersonic glide vehicle, dubbed Avangard, is designed to sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile. Once launched, it uses aerodynamic forces to sail on top of the atmosphere.
One U.S. intelligence report, according to a source, noted that the hypersonic glide vehicles were mounted to Russian-made SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missiles — and one test featured a mock warhead.