“Dagger” hits important target: Russia fires next hypersonic missile

“Dagger” hits important target
Russia fires next hypersonic missile

Russian forces are again using hypersonic missiles in Ukraine. A fuel and lubricants storage facility of the Ukrainian armed forces in the Mykolaiv region was destroyed with Kinzhal missiles. The new weapon system was used for the first time on Friday.

The Russian military has once again used the hypersonic missile “Kinzhal” (dagger) and claims to have hit a fuel depot in southern Ukraine. The military base in the Mykolaiv region was attacked from the airspace over Russia’s annexed Crimea, said Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow. “It was from this base that most of the fuel supplies for Ukrainian armored vehicles were processed.”

Kalibr cruise missiles also hit Ukrainian tank repair shops. According to Russian information, more than 100 soldiers and mercenaries were killed in an attack on a training center of the Ukrainian special forces in the Zhytomyr region. The information could not be independently verified.

On Saturday, Russia reported for the first time since the beginning of the war that it had deployed its new Kinzhal air-to-surface ballistic missile. The weapon was fired on Friday, destroying an underground arms depot owned by the Ukrainian Air Force. The camp was located in the western Ukrainian village of Deljatyn, around 100 kilometers from the border with NATO member state Romania. According to military experts, it was the first time that Russia used these weapons in an armed conflict. So far, the weapons have been used primarily for manoeuvres.

Hardly intercepted by missile defense

The Kinzhal missiles are part of an arsenal of hypersonic missiles that Russia was the first country in the world to develop. The missiles can change altitude and direction at extreme speeds. The “Kinschal” rockets are said to reach up to ten times the speed of sound. According to NATO, they can hardly be intercepted with conventional air defense or missile defense. AS-24 Killjoy (“spoilsport”), the western alliance has christened the new Russian weapon.

The “Kinzhal” is fired from high altitude by MiG-31 interceptors. Only at a safe distance from the aircraft does its own rocket engine ignite. It first carries the “Kinschal” up to 20 kilometers high, where the rocket has to withstand high friction temperatures, and then down to the target. When launched from a MiG-31, the weapon system has a range of up to 2,000 kilometers, according to Russian information.

The “Kinschal” carries up to 480 kilograms of explosives or a nuclear warhead. The missile could thus attack important infrastructure in Europe, such as airfields, wrote the US think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Large NATO ships on the Atlantic could also become targets.

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