The Russian Aerospace Forces successfully conducted a test launch of the Kinzhal hypersonic aviation and missile system from a MiG-31 interceptor aircraft.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, more than 250 flights related to the missile’s aviation system, were conducted since the beginning of the year. In a statement made by the Russian Defense Ministry, the flights were flown in various weather conditions day and night.
Russian President Vladimir Putin deemed the Kinzhal hypersonic aviation and missile system “invincible” during a speech delivered to hundreds of Russian officials and legislators. The missile is said to have a range of over 2,000 km, and could reach speeds up to Mach 10. Adding to that, the payload is believed to be between 500-700 kg, enough to destroy an American aircraft carrier.
At the moment, Putin is right when he claims that the missile is invincible as no western air defense system is capable of engaging hypersonic weapons, according to Aviation Analysis Wing.
The Kinzhal missile: an aerial version of the Iskander-M short range ballistic missile?
An image shared by the Aviation Analysis Wing details similarities between the Kinzhal hypersonic missile and the Iskander-M surface-to-surface short range tactical ballistic missile. The Iskander-M can also host a nuclear warhead, a feature announced on the Kinzhal missile by president Putin during his speech.
The Kinzhal missile is powered by the same single stage solid propellant rocket motor than the Iskander-M.
“Visible modification to the ground launched 9M723 missile include a exhaust fairing cap which is jettisoned after releasing from the aircraft, sharper nose cone and new guide fins,” according to the website.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis expressed doubts that Russia developed such an advanced weapon, and said the test would not affect U.S. policy.
“I saw no change to the Russian military capability, and each of these systems he [Putin] is talking about that are still years away, I did not see them changing the military balance,” Mattis told reporters in Oman. “They did not impact any need on our side for a change in our deterrent posture.”
If the missile is indeed capable of such prowess, it will definitely become a game changer in the near future as the NATO missile defense system would be rendered useless.