What to know about hypersonic missiles fired by Russia at Ukraine

“And if you’ll notice, (Russia has) just launched the hypersonic missile, because it’s the only thing that they can get through with absolute certainty,” Mr Biden stated.

“It’s a consequential weapon … it’s almost impossible to stop it. There’s a reason they’re using it.”

A Russian MiG-31 fighter jet releases the new Kinzhal hypersonic missile during a test at an undisclosed location in Russia (Photo: March 2018).
The Kinzhal hypersonic missile has been deployed by Russia’s navy in Ukraine. (File photograph) (RU-RTR Russian Television by way of AP)

But British intelligence and even Mr Biden’s personal defence secretary have downplayed Russia’s use of its air-launched Kinzhal missiles.

“I would not see it as a game-changer,” Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin informed CBS on Face the Nation.

And the UK Defence Ministry stated the Kinzhal missile is actually simply an air-launched model of the Iskander short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), which Russia has used repeatedly in its invasion of Ukraine.

The Javelin anti-tank missile can hit a goal as much as 4000 metres. The Ukrainian military already has obtained some from the US and Britain, with extra promised. (AP)

Why the hype about hypersonic missiles?

First, it is essential to grasp the time period.

Essentially, all missiles are hypersonic – which implies they journey at the least 5 instances the pace of sound.

Almost any warhead launched from a rocket kilometres within the ambiance will attain this pace heading to its goal.

It just isn’t a brand new expertise.

What navy powers – together with Russia, China, the US and North Korea – are engaged on now’s a hypersonic glide automobile (HGV).

An HGV is a extremely manoeuvrable payload that may theoretically fly at hypersonic pace whereas adjusting course and altitude to fly underneath radar detection and round missile defences.

The Russian air pressure had deployed the Kinzhal hypersonic missile throughout operations in Syria. (AP)

An HGV is the weapon that is nearly unattainable to cease.

And Russia is assumed to have an HGV in its arsenal, the Avangard system, which Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018 known as “practically invulnerable” to Western air defences.

But the Kinzhal, as a variant of the Iskander SRBM, just isn’t an HGV.

“The MiG-31K can strike from unpredictable directions and could avoid interception attempts altogether. The flying carrier vehicle might also be more survivable than the road-mobile Iskander system,” the report stated.

The identical report additionally famous that the ground-launched Iskander proved susceptible to missile defence programs through the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh warfare, throughout which Azeri forces intercepted an Armenian Iskander.

“This suggests that claims of the Kinzhal’s invulnerability to missile defence systems may also be somewhat exaggerated,” the report stated.

Western nations are sending anti-missile defence programs to the Ukrainian navy after a wave of Russian missile assaults. (AP)

Does Ukraine have missile defences?

The US and its NATO allies are already sending a number of surface-to-air missiles programs to Ukraine to assist in its defence.

According to a senior US official, these further programs embrace the Soviet-era SA-8, SA-10, SA-12 and SA-14 cellular air defence programs.

And NATO member Slovakia has agreed to ship even higher S-300 missile defence batteries to Ukraine as soon as it will get appropriate replacements from NATO companions, sources have informed CNN.

Why did Putin use the Kinzhal missile?

The launches have been doubtless meant to check the weapons and ship a message to the West about Russian capabilities, a number of sources informed CNN.

And with the warfare on the bottom in Ukraine turning into a stalemate, Russia could also be searching for victories it will possibly tout.

The UK Defence Ministry stated Moscow most likely deployed the Kinzhal to “detract from a lack of progress in Russia’s ground campaign”.

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