Russia’s new Ukraine weapon: What’s a hypersonic missile?

The Russian military mentioned on Saturday that it fired hypersonic missiles in Ukraine, the primary identified use of the brand new weapon gadget in a fight setting.

Defence Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov says the ‘Kinjal’ — this means that dagger in Russian — weapon destroyed “a big underground warehouse of missiles and ammunition” in western Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin has described hypersonic guns as “invincible”, however what precisely are they?

Moscow claims those missiles fly at exceptionally top speeds — as much as Mach 10, or 12,000 km consistent with hour — and that blended with manoeuvrability make it extraordinarily tough or unattainable to intercept. Some Western army mavens assume then again that Russia may well be exaggerating the functions in their air-to-ground hypersonic guns.

“The hypersonic missile has a better penetration capability and damaging energy because of its very top velocity,” explains army analyst Vassili Kachine.

Every other army knowledgeable, Pavel Felgenhauer, mentioned that the usage of the Kinjal missiles does not give Moscow a strategic benefit, however it is extra of a mental benefit.

“Principally, it does not alternate the battlefield, however it unquestionably has an impact with regards to mental propaganda, to scare everybody” he defined.

Moscow has evolved this vary of hypersonic guns with the intention to evade protection techniques such because the American missile protect in Europe, however China has additionally effectively examined a hypersonic glider, and North Korea claims to even be creating hypersonic guns.

“The US does no longer have this weapon for the instant,” notes Vassili Kashin.

Other categories of Russian hypersonic guns

Kinjal – Dagger:

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First effectively examined in 2018, Kinjals hit all their objectives all through trials at a spread of one,000 km to two,000 km, in step with the Russian Defence Ministry. However this vary will also be prolonged as a result of they are fired from jets, specifically the Mig-31.

Avangard – Forefront:

Russia’s hypersonic Avangard hypersonic glider missiles are in a position to converting direction and altitude at very top speeds, making them “just about invincible” in step with Putin, who compares the clinical and armed forces step forward in their construction “to the introduction of the primary synthetic satellite tv for pc of the Earth”, the well-known Sputnik.

Effectively examined in December 2018, their velocity then reached Mach 27 – or 27 occasions the velocity of sound – and hit a goal situated round 6,000 km away, in step with the Russian Ministry of Defence. They had been put into provider in December 2019. Avangard hypersonic gliders are in a position to wearing nuclear payloads.


Zircon hypersonic missiles are fired from a floor send or submarine. The primary respectable take a look at release used to be in October 2020 and it flies at Mach 9 to hit objectives on land or at sea.

On the finish of December 2021, Vladimir Putin introduced a primary a success take a look at firing of a Zircon salvo.

Different checks have taken position since October 2020 within the Russian Arctic, specifically from the Admiral Gorchkov frigate and a submerged submarine.