Russia Announces New Hypersonic Air-to-Ground Nuclear Missile

By Chris Jasurek

Russia’s Defense Ministry released a video on March 12 of what it claims is the first successful test of a new nuclear-capable hypersonic air-to-ground missile.

Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a number of what he called “game-changing” weapons during a campaign speech on March 1, AINonline reports.

At that speech, he stated that the new Kinzhal missile had been deployed to forces in Russia’s Southern Military District in December 2017.

In this screen shot the new missile is visible underneath the fuselage of the Mig-31 jet. (BBC screenshot)
In this screenshot, the new missile is visible underneath the fuselage of the MiG-31 jet. (BBC screenshot)

Putin claimed that the missile could travel at 10 times the speed of sound, perform evasive maneuvers, and deliver a nuclear warhead to a ground target at a range of 1,000 miles.

The Mikoyan MiG-31 (gagdaily.com)
The Mikoyan MiG-31 (gagdaily.com)

The video shows a Russian MiG-31 taking off with the missile attached to the fuselage, and shows the plane releasing the missile.

The video included computer-generated images of the missile being fired from a MiG-31 on warships.

A pair of truck-mounted, ground-launched Iskander tactical ICBMs, the missile which some experts forms the basis for the new Kinzhal. (thaimilitaryandasianregion.blogspot.com)
A pair of truck-mounted, ground-launched Iskander tactical ICBMs, the missile which, according to some experts, form the basis for the new Kinzhal. (thaimilitaryandasianregion.blogspot.com)

 

The Iskander ICBM (thaimilitaryandasianregion.blogspot.com)
The Iskander ICBM (thaimilitaryandasianregion.blogspot.com)

Based on analysis of the video, the missile appears to about 26 feet long and over 3 feet in diameter. AINonline reports that some experts believe the Kinzhal is a modification of the 9M723 Iskander, which weighs 8,380 pounds and carries a 1000-pound warhead.

 

The 9M723 has an onboard radar guidance system and can reach about seven times the speed of sound.

Experts think the Kinzhal might have a second-stage booster and a detachable self-propelled warhead, unlike the Iskander.

 

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