The power of two Russian missiles that Ukraine admits “cannot be intercepted”

The Ukrainian Air Force admitted that it could not intercept two types of Russian cruise missiles.

On the night of March 8, and early morning of March 9, the Russian military conducted a large-scale air raid with 81 missiles fired at various energy and civilian targets in Ukraine. The Ukrainian air defense later claimed to have shot down 34 Russian missiles.

However, according to Colonel Yurii Ihnat, spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, the weapons currently in the service of the Ukrainian army are not capable of intercepting two types of missiles used by Russia in the raid on March 8. , which is the Kinzhal hypersonic missile and the Kh-22 “carrier killer”.

“Our air defense systems are capable of intercepting many types of cruise missiles. However, we are not able to counter the Kinzhal and Kh-22 missiles because they follow ballistic trajectories and nests. Ukraine’s current air defense system does not have the capability to intercept,” Ihnat said.

Missile “dagger” Kinzhal

Kinzhal (“dagger”) is a Russian hypersonic missile. Russian media claim that the Kinzhal missile has a range of about 2,000 km, a speed of 10 times the speed of sound, about more than 12,000 km / h, making interception almost impossible. The missile can carry a conventional warhead weighing 500kg, or a nuclear warhead with an explosive yield of 100-500kt.

This is one of six strategic weapons announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State of the Union Address in 2018. The Russian Defense Ministry has repeatedly affirmed that the Kinzhal missile is invisible and is considered invincible to any anti-aircraft, or anti-missile systems of the enemy.

Speaking at a meeting with foreign military attaches in December 2022, General Valery Gerasimov of Russia emphasized: “The Kinzhal missile system has proven highly effective and invulnerable to enemy targets. air defense systems deployed in Ukraine”.

Previously, in November 2022, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine warned of the risk of being attacked by Kinzhal missiles from Russian MiG-31 fighters from Belarusian territory. The Russian military is said to be maintaining a large squadron of MiG-31 fighters at the Machulishchy and Baranovichi military airfields in Belarus.

Commenting on the power of the Kinzhal missile, experts from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said, “Russia has developed this unique missile to easily attack infrastructure facilities. The high speed combined with unpredictable flight trajectory and superior maneuverability makes intercepting this missile very difficult.” 

According to observers, the introduction of Kinzhal missiles into the war on March 8 shows that the Russian military has changed its tactics of ambushing Ukraine. In the coming time, Moscow may increase the use of this formidable weapon of power and speed to deal with Kiev’s increasingly enhanced air defense system. 

“Carrier killer” Kh-22

The Raduga Kh-22 is a large anti-ship missile developed during the Soviet era. With a mass of nearly 6 tons, a length of 11.6m, this missile can carry a conventional warhead or a nuclear warhead with a yield of up to 1,000kt.

Using a liquid fuel engine, the Kh-22 can fly at a maximum speed of 5,600km/h, nearly five times the speed of sound. The missile’s range is about 600km. In addition, many improved versions of the Kh-22 are also equipped with an advanced combined radar system, allowing it to move flexibly and attack targets more accurately.

With its power and outstanding features, the Kh-22 has been dubbed the “carrier killer” by military observers. Some Western newspapers even described the missile as “a terrible weapon at all limits”. Soviet scientists and engineers responsible for the creation of Kh-22 revealed that this weapon was designed to deal with enemy carrier battle groups.

In Ukraine, Russia has begun using Kh-22 missiles to attack large Kiev targets to compensate for the lack of high-precision cruise missiles. This situational change of Moscow has had an unexpected effect. In January 2023, General Nikolai Oleshuk, the commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, admitted that in nearly a year of war, Russia had launched more than 200 Kh-22 anti-ship missiles, but Ukraine had not shot down any.

Experts say that the power of the Kh-22 and Kinzhal cruise missiles shows the importance of providing modern Western air defense complexes to Ukraine. By 2022, the US and its NATO allies have committed to deliver Patriot batteries and NASAM to Kiev. These modern weapons are currently being urgently trained for Ukrainian soldiers and will soon be put into combat.

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