Russia releases videos hyping its new hypersonic weapons just days after Putin and Trump meet

  • Russia's Ministry of Defense released videos on Thursday showing new strategic weapons, most of which the U.S. cannot currently defend against.
  • The weapons displayed in the videos are a significant addition to the Kremlin's arsenal, which already has more nuclear weapons than other countries, according to estimates.
  • The new videos come on the heels of President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Finnish capital, Helsinki.

Just days after President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Moscow released videos of its new strategic weapons, most of which the U.S. cannot currently defend against.

The videos from the Kremlin's Ministry of Defense that went live Thursday appear to show a hypersonic air-to-ground missile, a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a nuclear-powered missile with unlimited range, and a hypersonic missile that can carry a nuclear warhead, as well as a few other systems.

The weapons displayed in the videos are a significant addition to the Kremlin's arsenal, which already has more nuclear weapons than other countries, according to estimates. The latest revelations of Moscow's development of hypersonic weapons has sparked new fears over a budding arms race.

Trump and Putin met Monday in Helsinki, where they discussed, among other issues, working to stem the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Both leaders lauded the meeting as a success and have said they want to continue their dialogue, even as the summit drew withering condemnations from across the global political spectrum. Trump extended an invitation to Putin to visit Washington this fall.

However, it is unclear whether Trump addressed Putin's sprint to deploy this new breed of weapon when the two leaders metearlier this week. Prior to the highly anticipated summit, Trump insisted the two leaders meet early in the day without any aides present — stirring concerns that Putin, a former KGB officer, would outflank his American counterpart.

In March, the Russian leader touted his nation's hypersonic weapons as "invincible" during a state of the nation address.

"I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country's development: You have failed to contain Russia," Putin said during his address.

Of the six weapons Putin debuted in March, CNBC has learned that two of them will be ready for war by 2020, according to sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports.

A hypersonic missile launched from warplanes

Kubinka, Moscow Region, Russia - June 22, 2015: Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-31BM RF-92379 jet fighter takes off at Kubinka air force base.
Artyom_Anikeev | iStock Editorial | Getty Images
Kubinka, Moscow Region, Russia - June 22, 2015: Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-31BM RF-92379 jet fighter takes off at Kubinka air force base.

A hypersonic air-to-surface missile is one of the weapons likely to be ready for combat as early as 2020, as CNBC previously reported. The sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Russia successfully tested the weapon three times.

The third known test of the device, dubbed "Kinzhal," meaning "dagger," was successfully carried out earlier this month against a target nearly 500 miles away.

The U.S. intelligence report, according to a source, noted that the hypersonic missile was tested 12 times on a Russian MiG-31 fighter jet but work is currently underway to mount the missile on a strategic bomber.

The new video released by the Russian MoD shows just that: a Tupolev Tu-22 bomber carrying the hypersonic missile.

Watch the Russian MoD video below:

A nuclear-powered missile with 'infinite' range

Putin bragged earlier this year that his country had a new nuclear-powered missile with unlimited range — but it has yet to perform a successful test over multiple attempts, the sources previously told CNBC.

The cruise missile was tested four times between November and February, each resulting in a crash, said the sources.

The U.S. assessed that the longest test flight lasted just more than two minutes, with the missile flying 22 miles before losing control and crashing. The shortest test lasted four seconds and flew for five miles.

The weapon, which has been in development since the early 2000s, is believed to use a gasoline-powered engine for takeoff before switching to a nuclear-powered one for flight.

The tests apparently showed that the nuclear-powered heart of the cruise missile failed to initiate and, therefore, the weapon was unable to achieve the indefinite flight Putin had boasted about.

The tests were ordered by senior Kremlin officials despite objections from the program's engineers, who voiced concerns that the system was still in its infancy, sources said previously.

The newly released video appears to show a missile test as well as footage of researchers working on the weapon at an undisclosed location.

Watch the Russian MoD video below:

A hypersonic missile designed to carry a nuclear warhead

In May, CNBC learned the hypersonic glide vehicle, which is designed to sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile, will be ready for war by 2020.

The weapon, dubbed "Avangard," is designed to sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile. Once launched, it uses aerodynamic forces to sail on top of the atmosphere.

Russia successfully tested the weapon, which could carry a nuclear warhead, twice in 2016, according to sources who had spoke on condition of anonymity. The third known test of the device was carried out in October 2017 and resulted in a failure when the platform crashed seconds before striking its target.

Meanwhile, the Russians are expected to conduct a fourth test sometime this summer.

Watch the Russian MoD video below: