Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday that Russia has officially taken the lead in the global hypersonic arms race, saying that his is the only nation in the world to have already deployed hypersonic weapons. He went on to say that Russia is leading the world in developing this new class of weapons: this marks a notable difference from previous arms races, in which Russia was trying to catch-up to the United States.

“Now we have a situation that is unique in modern history when they are trying to catch up to us,” he said. “Not a single country has hypersonic weapons, let alone hypersonic weapons of intercontinental range.”

While the U.S. is still the clear leader in a number of important defense enterprises, China and Russia have been watching American forces operate all over the world in recent years: They have been developing weapons systems, for example hypersonic missile technologies, specifically intended to counter America’s traditional ways of conducting business.

These missile platforms travel at consistent speeds in excess of Mach 5, making them virtually impossible to intercept using the modern missile defense systems employed by U.S. forces.