Russia's 3M22 Zircon anti-ship hypersonic missile. Screen grab: Military Technology Zone/ YouTube
Russia's 3M22 Zircon anti-ship hypersonic missile. Moscow has not publicly released any image of its Zmeevik hypersonic weapon. Screen grab: Military Technology Zone / YouTube

New ballistic missile submarines and hypersonic cruise missiles are among the items receiving top priority in a 10-year defense program that Russian President Vladimir Putin will reportedly sign before the end of this month.

The Independent Barents Observer, citing information obtained by the Russian newspaper Kommersant, says Putin told top military brass in November that his new program is designed to provide the country’s army and navy with “the most state-of-the-art weapons.”

Putin is expected to approve the plan on December 22. “If we want to lead the way, if we want to win, we must be the best,” Putin was quoted by news agency TASS as saying of the plan.

The Norway-based Observer says new submarines for Russia’s Northern Fleet, which covers the Arctic region, are a key part of Putin’s program.

“Important for the Northern Fleet, sailing out of the Kola Peninsula, is the final funding for the four Borei-class ballistic missile submarines and six Yasen-class multi-purpose submarines currently under construction at the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk,” the Observer said. “Additionally, the next ten years armament program will make the start of construction of the fifth generation nuclear submarines. That goes for both an upgraded version of the Borei-class named Borei-B (Project 955-B) and a new class of multi-purpose submarines named Husky-class.”

Nuclear deterrence, high-precision weapons and hypersonic cruise missiles and developing “general purpose forces” will also receive special attention from the Kremlin.

A hypersonic cruise missile is a missile that travels at least five times the speed of sound.

Russia’s new Arctic weaponry also reportedly includes deployment of the S-300V4 anti-ballistic missile system and the Tor-M2 anti-aircraft missile system.

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