Russian MiG-31K, Su-57 fighters to carry Kinzhal hypersonic missiles at Army 2018 forum

Russian President Vladimir Putin called Kinzhal "an ideal weapon" while unveiling the hypersonic missile in early March 2018. 

Russian MiG-31K, Su-57 fighters to carry Kinzhal hypersonic missiles at Army 2018 forum
Photo Credit: Russian Defence Ministry Youtube channel

New Delhi: In yet another show of strength, a couple of Russian fighters will carry the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missiles during the August 21-23 Army-2018 forum. One Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (meaning dagger) each will be mounted on a MiG-31K and Su-57 fighters during the show and the two jets will fly past the audience to show that the Russian forces have one of the most devastating weapons in their arsenal.

The MiG-31K and Su-57 fighters will fly from the Kubinka airfield outside Moscow. While Russia is yet to officially declare the exact range of the Kinzhal missile, it is rumoured to be about 1,200 miles (approximately 2,000 kilometres). The solid-fueled air-to-surface hypersonic missile is highly manoeuvrable and can destroy sea-based targets too, according to Russian officials.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called Kinzhal "an ideal weapon" while unveiling the missile in early March 2018. According to Russian defence experts, the 8-metre long, 1-metre wide Kinzhal can fly at a speed of 10 Mach and evade any known anti-missile defence system currently in service or under development.

The hypersonic missile can carry a conventional or nuclear payload of 480 kilogrammes. Russia is also planning to increase the missile's range by mounting it on the Tu-22M3 bomber (NATO codename: Backfire). Tu-22M3 bomber has an operational range of 1,000 km and if Kinzhal is fired from its maximum range, then it can potentially hit a target which is 3000 km away.

Moreover, unlike the MiG-31K or Su-57 which can carry only one Kinzhal at a time, the Tu-22M3 can take many missiles simultaneously, giving Russia the ability to launch several of them at targets in a very short span of time.

"The Kinzhal is an air-launched missile system and, therefore, it is necessary to look at its range considering the combat radius of its carrier. For the Tu-22M3, aboard which the missile will soon be tested, the hypersonic missile’s target destruction range will equal over 3,000 km (the carrier’s combat radius plus the missile’s range0," Itar-Tass quoted a defence source as saying.

Kinzhal is based on and is a modified version of Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile, which too is highly manoeuvrable and can hit targets 500 km away.

Russia's Army-2018 international military and technical forum is a week-long event from August 21-26 and is being held at the Patriot Congress and Exhibition Park outside Moscow.

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