Ukraine-Russia, Kinzhal hypersonic missiles are back: because they hit

Launched by fighter jets, they fly at 12,000 km per hour and change trajectory

Kinzhal hypersonic missiles are once again protagonists in Russia’s latest attack on Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the use of weapons in today’s raid. On Telegram, the Russian authorities explained that the Kinzhals were launched “in response” to the alleged Ukrainian incursion into the Bryansk region of Russia in recent days.

Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat confirmed that the Russians fired six Kinzhals, adding that Kiev’s armed forces lack the capabilities to intercept this type of missile which travels at five times the speed of sound. According to Ukraine, a total of 81 missiles were fired in the latest wave of attacks.

The Kinzhal made their appearance on the war theater a year ago with their own peculiar characteristics: the weapon has a range of 2,000 km, if launched from a Mig (3,000 from a Tu-22M3), it can reach speeds of Mach10 (12 thousand kilometers per hour), and follows an unpredictable trajectory.

The missile (designed as an Iskander to be loaded onto an aircraft) is a system that can be armed with both conventional and nuclear warheads, capable of piercing Kiev’s anti-missile defenses in the past.

President Vladimir Putin called it an “ideal weapon” when he first spoke about it in public in March 2018. Kinzhal belongs to a ‘family’ of hypersonic systems which also includes the Avangard intercontinental missile and the Tskinkal cruise missile.