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Russia uses Kinzhal hypersonic missile to destroy ammunition depot in Ukraine

Ukraine - Russia Invasion conflict war

Posted On Saturday, 19 March 2022 12:05

According to information published by the Russian press agency RIA Novosti on March 18, 2022, Russian armed forces have used for the first time Kinzhal hypersonic missile launched from an aircraft to destroy a Ukrainian military depot of ammunition in the village of Deliatyn in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, located about 100 km from the border with Romania.

MIG-31K Carry the Hypersonic Kinzhal Missile

What is a Hypersonic Missile?

A hypersonic missile can fly at a speed of Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound) while maneuvering in the atmosphere. Unlike ballistic missiles, hypersonic weapons do not follow a ballistic trajectory and can maneuver en route to their destination.

One of the advantages of the hypersonic missile is its ability to challenge detection and defense due to its speed, maneuverability, and low altitude of the flight. For example, terrestrial-based radar cannot detect hypersonic weapons until late in the weapon’s flight. This delayed detection compresses the timeline for decision-makers assessing their response options and for a defensive system to intercept the attacking weapon and potentially permitting only a single intercept attempt.

The Kinzhal Kh-47M2 also nicknamed Dagger is a Russian nuclear-capable air-to-ground hypersonic missile that can be launched from Tu-22M3 bomber or MiG-31K fighter aircraft. The development of the Kinzhal ballistic missile was based on the Russian-made ground-launched Iskander-M short-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile using a solid-propellant rocket with small fins for maneuverability. The missile was successfully tested in July 2018 launched from a modified MiG-31 fighter, according to US intelligence reports.

Russian military source has reported the Kinzhal can reach a top speed of Mach 10, with a range of up to 1,200 miles (around 2,000 km) when launched from the MiG-31. The Kinzhal is reportedly capable of maneuverable flight, as well as of striking both ground and naval targets, and could eventually be fitted with a nuclear warhead.

The MiG-31K is a modified version of the Russian-made MiG-31 supersonic interceptor aircraft, NATO code designation Foxhound. The aircraft has been modified to carry one Kinzhal hypersonic missile. The missile is launched from an altitude of 18 km at supersonic speeds. The missile is released and falls probably tens of meters, ejects a rocket cap that is used to protect the rocket motor during the jet flight, and then uses its solid rocket motors to accelerate to hypersonic velocity.

The Tu-22М3 long-range supersonic missile carrier bomber (NATO code designation Backfire) is designed to destroy sea- and ground-based targets by means of guided missiles and aerial bombs.

In 2018, the first completely modernized Tu-22М3М missile carrier bomber was created within the framework of a large-scale modernization program for aircraft systems of strategic and long-range aviation. In the course of the complete modernization, the aircraft was equipped with an advanced digital avionics system based on domestic components. The conducted works resulted in the considerable enhancement of combat capabilities of the aircraft system including increased tactical effectiveness and larger operational radius. The first flight of the completely modernized Tu-22М3М missile carrier bomber was on December 28, 2018.

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