MOSCOW is developing a hypersonic nuclear glider that can penetrate Nato's missile defence system, according to claims on a Russian website.
Travelling at up to 7,680 miles per hour - theoretically capable of travelling from Moscow to London in around 13 minutes - the highly-manoeuvrable Yu-74 can deliver atomic warheads to a precise target through any defensive shield set up by an enemy nation to block approaching missiles.
Tests on another hypersonic aircraft, Yu-71, were completed last year - part of Russia's secret missile program codenamed Project 4202.
Russia has made hypersonic vehicles a defence priority, especially given the opening of Nato's first defensive missile shield in Romania.
When completed, the Atlantic alliance's defensive umbrella will stretch from Greenland in the far north of Europe to the Azores in the south.
The move has provoked the ire of Russian defence chiefs who claim the shield will threaten peace in Europe.
A second Nato shield is due to open in Poland in 2018.
In response, the Kremlin announced last month plans to restore an ageing missile defence system near the Black Sea.
Dnepr base will be equipped to intercept ballistic, cruise and hypersonic missiles at a range of around 2,000 miles.
It is thought the latest Russian glider can be fitted to a new generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles - RS-28 Sarmat - which are currently being produced for the Russian army.
The missile would then be launched into orbit before the glider is uncoupled from the rocket and shot back to its target using gravatational pull to aid its ultra-high speed descent.
Each Sarmat missile can carry up to 24 nuclear-loaded Yu-74 gliders - each of which carries a nuclear weapon.
They are being tested at Dombarovsky missile base in Orenberg, close to the border with Kazakstan in southern Russia.
US defence officials confirmed in April the existence of the new glider, which is also designed to carry conventional warheads at speeds high enough to break through defensive shields.
China and the US are also developing their own versions of hypersonic missiles fitted to both gliders and jet-powered aircraft.
Russia Testing Hypersonic Nuclear Glider That Holds 24 Warheads and Travels at 7,000mph4.55SEEKER Saturday, 20 August 2016 MOSCOW is developing a hypersonic nuclear glider that can penetrate Nato's missile defence syst...