Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/TASS via Getty Images

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed Friday that the Avangard, the country's new intercontinental hypersonic weapon, became operational and entered combat duty, per the AP.

Why it matters: Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasized that Russia is the only country armed with hypersonic weapons. He also has compared the success of the Avangard's development to the Soviet Union's first satellite launch in 1957.

  • Plans for the Avangard were first announced in Putin's state-of-the-nation address in March 2018.
  • The Russian military said the Avangard can fly 27 times faster than the speed of sound.
  • Putin said the Avangard's ability to make sharp maneuvers in flight will render traditional missile defense systems useless.

The other side: The Pentagon said that it is currently working on developing hypersonic weapons, but Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in August that "it's probably a matter of a couple of years" before the U.S. can obtain one.

Go deeper: China, Russia and Iran to hold joint naval drills in Gulf of Oman

Go deeper

Supreme Court rejects GOP push to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by conservatives to shorten North Carolina's deadline for mail-in ballots from nine to three days.

The big picture: This is the latest of a series of decisions over mail-in ballot deadlines in various states.

Hurricane Zeta makes landfall on Louisiana coast as Category 2 storm

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 2 storm on Wednesday, bringing with it "life-threatening storm surge and strong winds," per the National Hurricane Center.

What's happening: The hurricane was producing maximum sustained winds of nearly 110 mph and stronger gusts.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control rise in hospitalizations Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed as COVID-19 surges MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!