November 28, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10983

Russia's Ministry Of Defense Releases Video Of Avangard Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Amid Apparent Production Challenges

November 28, 2023
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 10983

On November 16, 2023, the official Telegram channel of the Russian Ministry of Defense published a video showing an Avangard intercontinental ballistic missile being loaded into a silo launcher.[1] The video was filmed in the city of Yasni, which is part of the part of the Komarovski closed administrative-territorial entity, or ZATO, of the Orenburg Oblast.[2]

The Avangard missile is a fairly new design. In 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that research of hypersonic guided missiles is underway, saying: "We are developing and will put into service new strategic high-precision systems, the likes of which no one else in the world has. These are systems that will operate at hypersonic speeds and change direction, course, and altitude. [They will be] virtually invulnerable systems, including against missile defense."[3] In 2018 a successful test launch of the missile was conducted at the Kura test site in Kamchatka Krai.[4] In the same year, the Russian ministry of Defense stated that defense industry companies launched  serial production of the missile.[5]

Curiously, no official technical specs of the missile were published. The Avangard missile is launched with the RS-28 intercontinental ballistic missile, and is reportedly able to reach a speed of 27 Mach, and carry a nuclear charge with power that is equivalent to over 2 megatons of TNT.

The Komarovski ZATO, where the new video of the missile was filmed, is under the jurisdiction of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN). Th 13th Orenburg Red Banner Missile Division has been stationed in the ZATO since 1964. Over the years, the division had in service Soviet-designed strategic missile system equipped with the R-36 family of heavy-class missiles, capable of carrying a thermonuclear charge. These included: R-36 (1966-1978), R-36M (1974 -1984), R-36MUTTH (1979-2009), R-36M2 (1988-present day), RS-28 "Sarmat" (2020–present day), and since 2019, the relatively new Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle.

Yasni missile unit – the 13th Orenburg Red Banner Missile Division (Source: Russian Ministry of Defense)

Major General Andrey Cherevko is the commander of the 13th Orenburg Red Banner Missile Division since 2018 (Source:

According to official statements from the Russian Ministry of Defense, the deployment of Avangard missiles at Yasni is part of larger rearmament plans.[6] As of November 2023, there appear to be a total of ten Avangard complexes in service. The Avangard has been successfully launched five times prior to 2020, but not other official statements of successful launches were released since.[7] In March 2018, Russian Deputy Minister of Defense Yury Borisov stated that Avangard is "well tested", noting that development required a lot of effort, and that the most acute issues are in controlling the missile and its defense.

Meanwhile, reports pointed to a shortage of semiconductor chips required for manufacturing the missile – a result of sanctions and active hostilities.[8] Indeed, the absence of more recent test launches, as well as Russia's lack of other hypersonic missiles may suggest ongoing production issues. It seems that in 2021, six Avangard complexes were put into service. In 2022 – only two were put into service, and in 2023 so far, only two again. All this may be evidence of production issues, which may also extend to the carriers of the missile. As hostilities put more pressure on Russia's industry, and sanctions limit the availability of components, the Kremlin may face more challenges in realizing its plans for rearmament.


[1], November 16, 2023.

[2] Closed administrative-territorial entity (ZATO) is a settlement that hosts plants or institutions that have access to state secrets and is under the jurisdiction of federal government bodies.

[3], December 26, 2018.



[6] For example:, November 2022;, December 17, 2022, and, November 2023.

[7], December 22, 2022.

[8] For instance,;

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