Russia’s much hyped Kinzhal ballistic missile performs poorly, despite Russia boasting its plans to use them to patrol the Black Sea, the UK’s ministry of defence said in an intelligence update on Saturday.
Putin has claimed that the weapon is an unstoppable hypersonic missile, but the UK department said the Kinzhal’s performance in Ukraine has so far been “poor” and that it effectively remains in operational testing.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on October 18 that Russia would begin permanent patrols of the Black Sea using MiG-31I interceptor aircraft carrying Kinzhal – Russian for “dagger” – missiles.
He said it was not a threat but necessary because of increased US involvement in Ukraine and greater maritime presence in the eastern Mediterranean.
He also claimed that the Kinzhal missiles have a “range of over 1,000km and speed of up to Mach 9,” per Russian news agency Tass.
The UK ministry of defecse noted that Putin’s announcement was in line with typical Russian domestic messaging, which frames the West as aggressors and Russian activity as necessary for the state’s protection.
It said that mentioning the famed Kinzhal was likely intentional, intended to remind Russians that the nation continues to produce high-powered weapons.
For a long time, analysts have noted that the Kinzhal has yet to live up to its hyped reputation.
While the Kinzhal is an advanced system, it is not technically a “hypersonic” weapon, as Moscow often claims, Insider previously reported.
While the Kinzhal has the capacity for hypersonic flight, they do not have a sustained hypersonic flight ability and are not as difficult to defend against as weapons that do, experts say.
Ukraine said it shot down a Kinzhal missile with a US-made Patriot interceptor in May.
Days later, it claimed it shot down an unprecedented six Russian Kinzhal missiles over Kyiv.
The destruction of the Kinzhal missiles was seen as a psychological blow for Russia.
The missile’s manufacturer, Rostec, had claimed “there is no countermeasure” to it, with Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu said it “impossible neither to detect it nor to intercept”.
Source : SCMP