Ukrainian War: Five Questions About “Invincible” Russian Hypersonic Missiles

“Invincible”, “Hypersonic”, “Invisible”: Russia lacks the superlatives to describe the weapons used in the context of the invasion of Ukraine. Moscow said it had deployed brand new Kinjar hypersonic missiles twice a weekend on Ukrainian territory.

According to experts, the use of this missile is the world’s first hypersonic weapon. So far, Russia has never reported its use in two conflicts in conflict (Ukraine and Syria). The Kremlin said that by using these types of weapons, the troops were “trying to regain momentum” in a stagnant conflict, and that these weapons were “not game changers.” What are these weapons? Why does Moscow use it? Answer item.

1. What are these hypersonic missiles?

These missiles can move and maintain speeds above Mach 5, five times the speed of sound, or over 6,000 km / h. Therefore, while these are very fast weapons (even slower than traditional ballistic missiles that fly to Mach 20), they have the undeniable advantage of being difficult to detect. And they are maneuverable over most of their flight, which makes them much more accurate.

On the 24th day of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops announced that they had used hypersonic missiles the day before. According to Pentagon spokesman Igor Konashenkov, “On March 18, the Kinjar Air Complex with hypersonic ballistic missiles (Editor’s note:” dagger “in Russian) was a Ukrainian missile and ammunition. Destroyed a large underground warehouse. Delyatin’s origin in the Ivanofrankifsk region of western Ukraine. ” This is the first time Moscow has announced that it will use this weapon in combat.

2. Is there anything else?

These missiles belong to a family of new weapons developed by Russia. Russian hypersonic Avangard (Russian for “avant-garde”) missiles can change course and altitude at very high speeds, making them “virtually invincible” according to Vladimir Putin. The latter compared the scientific and military advances in their development with the famous Sputnik, “Creating the Earth’s First Artificial Satellite.”

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the test was successful in December 2018, reaching Mach 27, which is 27 times the speed of sound, and hitting a target about 6,000 km away. The service started in December 2019.

3. How are they different?

Beyond their speed (up to 12,000 km / h for Kinjar), the unpredictability of horizontal or vertical trajectories and the ultra-fast ability to change course make interception difficult, if not impossible. To. The threat is so real that the United States was astonished in 2018 and programmed billions of dollars at the end of December to catch up again in the zircon test in the summer of 2021 in terms of hypersonic technology. ..

4. Why do Russians use it?

These missiles can be used to launch conventional warheads faster and more accurately than other missiles, but they can also be used to launch nuclear weapons. Russian analyst Vasily Kashin told AFP that the higher penetration and destructive power of the Kinjar system is more effective than subsonic missiles in destroying underground storage.

“Unless Russia runs out of other missiles, there is little military logic to use such missiles against fuel depots,” Michael Horowitz tweeted. An American analyst in geopolitics and security. Russia’s inventory depletion of cruise missiles did go a few days ago, but could not be confirmed by independent sources. Another plausible explanation: psychological warfare. The use of weapons presented as absolute or invincible underscores Russia’s determination to do its utmost and its demonstration of its strategic advantage over all other nations.

5. Is it used in other countries?

Russia is the first country in the world to develop hypersonic weapons. These are the pride of the Russian President, who regularly brags of their presence as evidence of his country’s military superiority. Their test runs have helped other countries accelerate hypersonic programs, leading to an arms race in the region.

North Korea says it is developing and testing as well as China, which surprised Westerners with testing hypersonic gliders that can move at speeds above Mach 5 (more than 6,000 km / h). Earth flying through North Korea’s US anti-missile system before crashing near a target in the South China Sea. Beijing denied testing the weapons system to identify only “ordinary spacecraft.”