Aerial Warfare

Russia to Continue Mass Production of Kinzhal Air-based Hypersonic Systems

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Russia to Continue Mass Production of Kinzhal Air-based Hypersonic Systems

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Russian Navy MiG-31BM Interceptor Aircraft armed with Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile.
Russian Navy MiG-31BM Interceptor Aircraft armed with Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile.

Russia will continue the mass production of Kinzhal air-based hypersonic missiles, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a video address published on the Kremlin website on the occasion of Defender of the Fatherland Day. The Kinzhal entered service in December 2017 and was one of the six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 1 March 2018. According to TASS, Kinzhal hypersonic missiles underwent their baptism of fire in the special military operation in Ukraine on March 18, 2022. Kyiv’s Mayor said one person had died and two were wounded when an apartment block was hit by in the Holosiiv district.[

The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (in Russian: ?-47?2 ??????, “Dagger”, NATO reporting name Killjoy) is a Russian nuclear-capable hypervelocity aero-ballistic air-to-surface missile. It has a claimed range of more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi), Mach 12 speed (2.5 mi/s), 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 with stealth and high maneuverability and are designed to engage ground and naval targets.. It has been deployed at airbases in Russia’s Southern Military District and Western Military District.

Russian MiG-31K Aircraft Deployed to Mediterranean with Kinzhal Hypersonic Missiles
Russian MiG-31K Aircraft Deployed to Mediterranean with Kinzhal Hypersonic Missiles. (Russian MoD)

The missile is designed to hit NATO warships posing a threat to strategic missile systems in European Russia and to destroy NATO missile defence systems, ballistic missile defense ships and land objects close to the Russian borders. It is allegedly designed to overcome any known or planned NATO air or missile defense systems including the MIM-104 Patriot, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Aegis Combat System.[15][16][17][18] Rather than using the more recent hypersonic glide and scramjet missile designs, it uses the more classical ballistic missile technology at greater speeds.

The overall design of the missile is shared with the 9K720 Iskander, with the guidance section modified for Kinzhal. Because it flies at hypersonic speeds within the atmosphere, the air pressure in front of it forms a plasma cloud as it moves, absorbing radio waves (Plasma stealth). The high speed of the Kinzhal gives it better target-penetration characteristics than lighter, slower cruise-missiles. With advanced maneuvering capabilities, high precision and hypersonic speed, some sources give it the name “carrier killer” due to its alleged ability to disable and possibly even sink a 100,000 ton supercarrier with a single strike

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