Russia Tests Nuclear-Capable Air-Launched Ballistic Missile Over Barents Sea

Nuclear-Capable Air-Launched Ballistic Missile Tested Over the Barents Sea (excerpt)

(Source: the Barents Observer; posted Dec. 01, 2019)

A MiG-31K fighter takes off carrying a Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile. Derived from the Iskander ground-launched ballistic missile, the Kizhal can reach longer ranges and higher speeds by virtue of its supersonic launch at high altitude. (RuAF file photo)

The Kinzhal missile was launched from a MiG-31K taking off from Olenegorsk airbase on the Kola Peninsula. The missile changes the military power-balance in the north due to its range, speed and ability to overcome any known missile defence systems.

Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (NATO name SA-N-9 Gauntlet) is one of the six new strategic nuclear weapons presented by Vladimir Putin in his presidential address to the Federal Assembly on March 1, 2018.

Now, the missile is tested and, like several of the other new strategic weapons under development by Russia, the test took place in the northwestern part of the country.

“The test took place in mid-November. The missile was launched at a ground target located at the Pemboy training ground from a MiG-31K carrier plane, taking off from Olenegorsk airfield,” a military source said to news agency TASS.

Olenegorsk air base is an hour’s drive south of Murmansk, while the Pemboy range is about 60 kilometres from Vorkuta, just west of the Ural Mountains in the Komi Republic. The missile was likely launched while the aircraft was over the Barents Sea.

Extra range

In principle, the Kinzhal missile is an air-carried version of the Iskander land-based short-range ballistic missile. That said, placing such missile on an aircraft gives it a more dangerous strategic position.

First, the missile could be launched from unpredictable locations because an aircraft moves much faster than a land-based vehicle. Secondly, an aircraft adds extra range before the missile itself is launched. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Barents Observer website.


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