The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (“dagger”) is a Russian nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM). It has a claimed range of more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi), Mach 10 speed, and an ability to perform evasive maneuvers at every stage of its flight. It can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads and can be launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or MiG-31K interceptors. It has been deployed at airbases in Russia’s Southern Military District. The Kinzhal entered service in December 2017 and is one of the six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 1 March 2018. Russian media claims the missile’s range will be 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi; 1,100 nmi) when carried by the MiG-31K and 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi; 1,600 nmi) when carried by the Tu-22M3.
The missile is designed to target US and NATO warships posing a threat to strategic missile systems in Russia’s European part and to destroy NATO missile defence system and ballistic missile defense ships and land objects close to Russia borders, such as one in Romania. It is allegedly designed to overcome any known or planned US air or missile defense systems including MIM-104 Patriot, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Aegis Combat System.The missile first stage is probably shared with 9K720 Iskander and the guidance section is specifically designed for this missile. It is capable of attacking fixed and movable targets such as aircraft carriers. The missile accelerates to hypersonic speed within seconds of launch and performs maneuvers at all stages of the flight trajectory to evade enemy missile defenses.
The first operational unit armed with the hypersonic Kinzhal missiles was formed in Southern Military District of Russia in December 2017. In May 2018, ten MiG-31Ks capable of using Kinzhal missiles were on experimental combat duty and ready to be deployed. By December 2018, aircraft armed with Kinzhal missiles have conducted 89 patrol flights over the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. By February 2019, crews of the MiG-31K attack aircraft in role of Kinzhal missile carriers have performed more than 380 training flights with the missile, of which at least 70 have been carried with mid-air refueling. The weapon made its public debut during the Aviadarts international contest in August 2019. The first launch of Kinzhal in the Arctic took place mid-November, 2019. Reportedly, the launch was carried out by a MiG-31K from Olenya air base.