Air Force

Hypersonic Kindzhal Missiles used in Vinnitsya

MiG-31 fighter aircraft act as the carrier platform for the Kindzhal system hypersonic missiles.

The Vinnitsya District-based military infrastructure has been attacked with the use of the Kh-47M2 Kindzhal hypersonic, aeroballistic air-to-surface missile, the Armed Forces of Ukraine report.

According to the Ukrainian Air Force, the attack took place on 7th August. The said missiles can be launched by the MiG-31, Tu-22M3, and Tu-160. These missiles are launched, and then proceed to fly in the upper layers of the atmosphere. The warhead weighs 500 kilograms, while the missile travels at a speed between 3,500 and 12,000 kilometers per hour, depending on the stage of flight.

The Ukrainian sources stress that Kindzhal's flight profile makes it impossible for the Ukrainian air defence system to detect and intercept the threat. Strikes involving those missiles have been rare so far - only the most valuable targets were usually subjected to them. Russia may have only several missiles as such at its disposal.

The Kindzhal missile, commissioned in 2018, is considered to be a development of the Iskander system missiles by some observers. It may be used to act against targets at distances of up to 1,500 to 2,000 kilometers. It is an aeroballistic missile, that attains hypersonic speeds only at some stages of its flight (above Mach 5). To some extent, it is similar to ground-launched ballistic missiles. The missile is 7 meters long and weighs 4 tonnes.

The guidance is based on GPS/GLONASS, and optoelectronics - used in the terminal phase of flight. Compared to ground-launched ballistic missiles, a missile as such is far more dangerous with its greater range, speed, and better energy management, as opposed to a ground-launched vehicle.