Britain said Russia used Soviet nuclear cruise missiles to remove warheads to deceive Ukraine

The British military believes that Russia is removing warheads from Soviet-era Kh-55 nuclear cruise missiles, turning them into bait to deceive Ukrainian air defenses. Moscow has not yet commented on the information.

“Russia is most likely dismantling nuclear warheads from older cruise missiles and launching them into Ukraine. Photos in Ukraine show debris suspected of Kh-55 cruise missiles, in service specializing in carrying nuclear warheads,” the British Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence report on November 26, 2022.

The British military believes that the Kh-55 nuclear-powered cruise missile with the detonator can still cause damage through kinetic energy and unconsumed fuel, but it is unlikely to be as effective as complete projectiles.

“Russia seems to use them as bait, to distract and make it difficult for the Ukrainian air defense forces. Whatever their intentions, the conversion process represents the depletion of the missile arsenal. long-range service in the Russian army,” the British military report said.

Earlier, the Ukrainian Defense magazine reported that at 10:40 am on November 18, the air defense systems in the capital Kiyv successfully intercepted at least four suicide UAVs and two other cruise missiles aimed at Ukraine.

One of the missiles mentioned above is the Kh-55 missile model, which is a cruise missile equipped with a nuclear warhead researched and developed by the Soviet Union.

The engine part left after the missile was shot down is believed to be from a Russian Kh-55 cruise missile displayed by the Ukrainian side.

The Ukrainian side also confirmed that the Kh-55 missile used in the Ukraine raid has been denuclearized.

Previously, the air raids on Ukraine were often used by the Russian side as Kh-101 or Kh-32, or Kh-555 cruise missiles (an improved variant from Kh-55 but using conventional warheads).

The Russian Ministry of Defense has not yet commented on these reports.

The Kh-55 is an air-launched cruise missile developed by the Soviet Union beginning in 1971.

The Kh-55 nuclear-tipped cruise missile was the Soviet Union’s answer to the American AGM-86 ALCM nuclear-tipped air-launched cruise missile.

The Raduga Design Bureau was assigned by the Soviet government to develop this cruise missile to be able to deter the US and its allies.

The engineering team chose a solution to design a missile with a subsonic speed that ensures both efficiency and lower cost than developing a supersonic missile, reducing risks in the development process.

The newly designated missile Kh-55 or X-55 according to the Russian transliteration (NATO designation AS-15 Kent) was first tested in 1976.

Kh-55 has an aerodynamic design similar to the famous American Tomahawk cruise missile with a cylindrical body, and 2 stabilizing wings that will pop out after launch.

The missile has a length of 6.04 m, a body diameter of 0.514 m, a wingspan of 3 m, and a launch weight of 1.21 tons, equipped with a tactical nuclear warhead with an explosive yield of 250 kilotons, but they are replaceable with a conventional warhead weighing 400 kg.

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