How is “the Dagger”, the Russian hypersonic missile that can carry a nuclear warhead and be undetectable

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If there is a truth that is known out loud about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is that the Russian president Vladimir Putin did not think to meet such fierce resistance in Ukrainian territory and that its invasion would take more than a month without conquering the capital kyiv.

As the conflict unfolds and Ukraine adds military technology from European countries and the United States to increase your defenses, the Russian armed forces seek to accelerate the advance and conquer more strategic points by dint of sending more troops and fundamentally, by increasing the number of bombings.

In that aspect, Putin is testing new weapons developed in recent years that are truly amazing and cause real danger in terms of the level of destruction they can cause and the technology that makes them undetectable or unreachable.

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One of the latest Russian weapons with which they attacked various Ukrainian positions is the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile, which is Russian for “dagger” and has the ability to fly at Mach 5 or five times the speed of sound in some versions and up to Mach 10 in others. In addition, it can carry a 1,000-kilogram conventional bomb or a nuclear warhead and has a range of fire of up to 2,000 kilometers.the distance between Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile or São Paulo.

The Kinzhal, a hypersonic ballistic missile They have the ability to maneuver in the air, making them very difficult for missile defense systems to detect or neutralize. Is a Modified version of Russia’s Iskander missile what it has already been used in the Russia-Ukraine conflict several times.

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman confirmed a week ago that Russia had used a Kinzhal, or “dagger”, hypersonic missile late last week to destroy an ammunition depot in western Ukraine. On Sunday, the Kremlin said its forces had launched hypersonic missiles for the second time, this time from airspace over Crimea, destroying a fuel storage facility in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region, according to a Russian Defense Ministry statement.

A Russian technician adjusts the hypersonic missile to be fired in Ukraine (REUTERS)
A Russian technician adjusts the hypersonic missile to be fired in Ukraine (REUTERS)

Weapons specialists and the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom have downplayed Russia’s hypersonic capabilities and the degree of importance of their use on the battlefield. But because of the speed they reach, their kinetic energy is enough to blow holes in even the most hardened warships. For this reason it could be the nightmare of the aircraft carriers.

In theory, a hypersonic missile could be attached to a vehicle that could briefly leave Earth’s atmosphere before re-entering and attacking a given target. This would further reduce the target nations’ ability to react.

Unlike ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles can change its trajectory and deviate if necessary. This makes them more elusive, more threatening, and more lethal. “Maneuvering the missile at speeds exceeding several times the speed of sound allows it to reliably evade all air defense and anti-ballistic missile systems that exist or are being developed,” said in 2018 the Commander-in-Chief of the Aerospace Force, Sergei Surovikin.

A Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile carried by a Mikoyan MiG-31K
A Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile carried by a Mikoyan MiG-31K

What are these missiles? And what would it mean if Russia used them?

There are two main types: the missiles cruiser hypersonicswhich work with scramjets -high-speed motors-; and the hypersonic glide vehicleswhich are launched from a rocket but slide towards their target.

Unlike other missile systems, which must be launched from mobile or fixed complexes, the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal operate with two models of Russian aircraft. When launched from the MiG-31K they can hit targets 2,000 km away and when launched from the Tu-22M3 up to 3,000 km, according to the TASS news agency.

A Russian MiG-31 fighter jet fires a Kinzhal hypersonic missile (REUTERS)
A Russian MiG-31 fighter jet fires a Kinzhal hypersonic missile (REUTERS)

Russia has been pursuing hypersonic weapons since the 1980s, but it has stepped up its efforts in response to the US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and US missile defense deployments on US soil and in Europe, the CRS report said. In addition to the Kinzhal, Russia is working on two other hypersonic weapons programs: the 3M22 Tsirkon (or Zircon) and the Avangard.

Moscow claims its deadly ‘Kinzhal’ rockets cannot be stopped by Western missile defense systems. Video shot from a military drone reportedly shows the moment a large Ukrainian ammunition depot in Ivano-Frankivsk was hit by a deadly Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missile. “The Kinzhal aviation missile system with hypersonic aeroballistic missiles destroyed a large underground warehouse containing aviation missiles and ammunition in the village of Deliatyn in the Ivano-Frankivsk region,” Kremlin spokesman Igor Konashenkov confirmed, adding that the weapon “unstoppable” was deployed on Friday.

It is the first time the new Kinzhal is known to be used in the conflict with Ukraine. It was previously “tested” in Syria under war conditions.

Photograph of a Ukrainian ammunition depot hit by this missile
Photograph of a Ukrainian ammunition depot hit by this missile

President Putin earlier called the missile “an ideal weapon” that flies at 10 times the speed of sound and cannot be shot down by conventional air defense systems. “It has a range of 1,250 miles and is unrivaled in the West,” according to Moscow. Last month, President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia had stockpiled “unrivaled” hypersonic missiles.

Putin first announced the deadly Kinzhal missiles as part of an exhibition of new Russian weapons in 2018. At the time, the Russian president said of the West: “They need to take into account a new reality and understand that this is not a hoax”.

Russia’s use of military weapons was a warning to both Ukraine and the West that it “has the means to escalate” the conflict further, a defense expert has said. “The speed of the Kinzhal puts it out of range of any Ukrainian air defense system. and launch platforms can be launched from ranges beyond the reach of Ukraine,” said Dr. James Bosbotinis weapons specialist.

The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile, which means “dagger” in Russian
The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile, which means “dagger” in Russian

These missiles are a fairly new type of weapon in the world military branch. Few countries in the world have the capacity to develop, build and operate this type of weapon. Among them are China, which did its first tests in October last yearand Russia, which put them into service in 2017.

Meanwhile, the United States has been researching hypersonic weapons since the early 2000s and is developing them under the program Conventional Prompt Strike of the Marineas well as in other programs that depend on the Air forcesthe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the army.

Infographics: Marcelo Regalado

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About Alex Marcell

He likes dogs, pizza and popcorn. Already a fanboy of Nintendo and Sony, but today throws anything. He has collaborated on sites and magazines such as GameBlast, Nintendo World, Hero and Portal Pop, but today is dedicated exclusively to Spark Chronicles.

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