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Russian Western District to receive MiG-31K with Kinzhal ALBM missiles


The Russian Defense Ministry decided to deploy aircraft with air ballistic Kinzhal missiles in the Western Military District, the Izvestia daily writes quoting Defense Ministry sources. They said the deployment places are being specified. The sources did not disclose the exact deployment time. The deliveries will depend on the implementation of the arms procurement order and the time required to train the crews, they said.

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Russian Western district to receive aircraft with Kinzhal ALBM missiles

A Kh-47M2 Kinzhal ALBM carried by a MiG-31K interceptor (Picture source: Wikipedia)


The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal ("dagger") is a nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM). The Kinzhal entered service in December 2017 and is one of the six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 1 March 2018. It has a claimed range of more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi), Mach 10 speed, and an ability to perform evasive maneuvers at every stage of its flight. It can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads and can be launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or MiG-31K interceptors.

At present, MiG-31K jets with Kinzhal are on duty only in the Southern Military District. A test squadron of ten MiG-31K was deployed there in December 2017. In early 2021, Central district Commander Alexander Lapin said the 712th fighter jet regiment in Kansk would be armed with Kinzhal by 2024. General Chief-of-Staff Valery Gerasimov said MiG-31K with Kinzhal was tested in the Arctic. The aircraft may be deployed in the Northern fleet and other districts.

However, the western direction is a priority for the latest hypersonic complexes. Kinzhal will pose a major threat to the potential aggressor at western borders.

“The test operation of Kinzhal has been ongoing for a long time. There is a squadron of MiG-31K with the air ballistic missile developed from the ground-based ballistic missile of Iskander,” expert Viktor Murakhovsky said. “The range of the missile fired by an aircraft comprises 2,000 kilometers, according to Defense Ministry data. Thus, Kinzhal is a major element of strategic non-nuclear deterrence. It can maneuver in flight to complicate interception. Officials said it is practically impossible for existing air and missile defense to intercept a maneuvering missile flying at a speed of Mach 10,” he said.

The redeployment of ground-based Iskander takes time. Kinzhal can be redeployed to any part of the Western district in hours. “The operational radius of the aircraft and the range of its missile make it possible to calculate the distance for the destruction of forces, including warships, that prepare an aggression,” Murakhovsky said.


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