Kinzhal Hypersonic Aero-Ballistic Missile Used By Su-34 In Ukraine For The First Time – Reports

Su-34 Kinzhal


Su-34 Kinzhal
File photograph of an Su-34 (Picture credit score: Vitaly V. Kuzmin/Wiki)

Till now, solely MiG-31K plane have been recognized to have employed the Kinzhal missile in fight.

A Russian Aerospace Forces Su-34 Fullback bomber used the Kinzhal missile in opposition to an unknown goal in Ukraine, TASS information company reported on Sept. 4, 2023. “The Su-34 fighter jet used the Kinzhal hypersonic missile within the particular army operation. The primary crew who efficiently achieved such a job will obtain state awards,” a Russian protection official stated in keeping with the Russian State-owned media outlet.

This was the primary time the air-launched Kinzhal (Dagger) hypersonic missile was utilized by a Su-34 throughout Russia’s “particular operation” in Ukraine: beforehand, solely MiG-31K have been used to hold the hypersonic ballistic missile. Inducted into energetic service with the Russian Aerospace Forces in 2014, the Su-34 is a two-seat strike fighter with a most vary of 4,000 km, a payload of as much as 12,000 kg on 12 hardpoints, the power to hold R-77 and and R-73 missiles, a 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon, and a Khibiny ECM suite. For extra particulars concerning the plane check out the infographic we posted here.

Kinzhal is principally an air-launched Iskander-M SRBM (short-range ballistic missile) that makes use of a MiG-31 Foxhound or Tu-22M3 Backfire belongings as an air-breathing first stage to extend its vary: actually, it isn’t a “hypersonic weapon” (i.e. an air-breathing missile based on scramjet technology) and, as a ballistic missile, it flies at hypersonic pace with a reported cruise missile-like flat flight profile.

All the main points concerning the missile may be discovered within the article we printed right here at The Aviationist in 2018, when the missile the Kinzhal was first test-fired:

Kinzhal is claimed to be a strategic air-to-surface strike missile. The missile is claimed to have maneuverable flight traits not sometimes seen in hypersonic, stable gasoline missiles. Observers of Russian missile packages have voiced skepticism about Russia’ efficiency claims nevertheless. In response to Russians and reference sources the Kinzhal missile has a high pace of Mach 10 and maintains some means to maneuver all through its efficiency envelope together with at hypersonic pace. If correct, these capabilities might make the Kinzhal troublesome to intercept by anti-missile methods. The missile is reported to have a spread of 1,200 miles (roughly 2,000 kilometers). This, added to the reported 1,860-mile unrefueled vary of the MiG-31BM lengthy vary, supersonic interceptor, provides the Kinzhal doubtlessly intercontinental strike functionality. The missile can also be reported to be nuclear-capable and capable of hit floor in addition to naval targets.


Hypersonic cruise missiles have the potential to defeat or degrade the effectiveness of most present surveillance and anti-missile methods due to their pace (and, within the case of this new Kinzhal, claimed functionality to maneuver). The selection of the aging MiG-31, that would probably launch the Kinzhal from +60,000 feet at supersonic speed, is geared toward giving the tactical ballistic missile rather more attain than it will have if launched from the bottom: certainly, through the Chilly Battle, the long-range high-altitude interceptor was supposed to be used as launch platform for anti-satellite weapons that might destroy targets in close to area. Succesful to hold as much as 4 long-range R-33 missiles and 4 short-range R-77 missiles, not solely was the MiG-31BM expected to carry a weapon able to shoot down space satellites; it was additionally supposed for use as a “cruise missile interceptor”: the Foxhounds have been concerned in exams to intercept cruise missiles, beforehand Kh-55 and extra just lately Kh-101, for years.

Whereas the Kinzhal seems to be an air-to-ground missile the pairing of this nuclear succesful hypersonic missile recollects the a lot older AIR-2 Genie nuclear armed air-to-air missile with a 1.5 kiloton warhead. The AIR-2 Genie and earlier variations of the identical missile have been deployed by the U.S. Air Drive from 1957-1962.

Kinzhal missiles have already been used a number of occasions within the Ukrainian warfare. The primary reported use of the weapon was when Russia stated it had fired the missile at a munitions dump in southwestern Ukraine on March 19, 2022. The missile was additionally used during a massive attack launched by Russia on the Ukrainian vitality infrastructure and different targets throughout Ukraine on March 9, 2023.

In Could 2023, Ukraine’s air protection managed to shoot down a Kinzhal for the first time utilizing US-delivered Patriot air-defense methods Kyiv first obtained in April. Since then, Ukraine has reported downing Kinzhal missiles at the very least 4 extra occasions, the final one last month.

Whereas the information of the Kinzhal being utilized by a Su-34 comes from TASS, a state-run media outlet, there are some Russian sources that say the missile utilized by the Fullback wasn’t the Kinzhal however an one other undisclosed new missile. We’ll see if one thing extra emerges but it surely’s value noticing this was the primary time the Su-34 was stated to have the ability to carry the massive hypersonic weapon.

David Cenciotti is a journalist based mostly in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and browse army aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and plenty of others, overlaying aviation, protection, warfare, business, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with completely different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Drive, a non-public pilot and a graduate in Laptop Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.


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