Russia Tests Kinzhal Air-Launched Ballistic Missile in Arctic

Russia tested its Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic nuclear-capable aero-ballistic missile from a MiG-31K fighter aircraft in the Russian Arctic.

The tests reportedly took place in mid-November with the MiG-31K carrier aircraft taking off from Olenegorsk airfield in the northern Murmansk region and launching the missile against a target at the Pemboy range near Vorkuta in the Komi Republic.

The Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) was unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly in March last year. According to the Russian President, the hypersonic missile flies at more than 10 times the speed of the sound and is capable of maneuvering and overcoming existing and future air defense and anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems.

According to him, the Kinzhal hypersonic missile systems have been on experimental and combat duty with the Russian Armed Forces since December 1, 2017.

Kinzhal has a range of more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi), Mach 10 speed, and an ability to perform evasive maneuvers at every stage of the flight. It can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads.

The missile is already deployed at Russia’s Southern Military District airbases and is carried by the MiG-31K supersonic interceptor aircraft.

The missile accelerates to hypersonic speed within seconds of launch and performs maneuvers at all stages of the flight trajectory to evade enemy missile defenses. It appears that Kinzhal is an adaptation of the Iskander missile. Western commentators have been skeptical about the Russian claims for the weapon.

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