The Russian bear is baring its teeth.
Until a few weeks ago, one could say that Russia had stuck to conventional ordnance. But after some time the ordinary guns, tanks, bombs, were joined by weapons of war banned by international conventions, such as cluster bombs and incendiary bombs, with devastation in human lives and infrastructure in their wake.
On Saturday defence Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov confirmed what the West already suspected, that Russia fired hypersonic missiles in Ukraine, the first known use of the new weapon system in a combat environment.
Moscow claims these missiles fly at exceptionally high speeds — up to Mach 10, or 12,000 km per hour — and that combined with manoeuvrability make it extremely difficult or impossible to intercept. Some Western military experts think however that Russia might be exaggerating the capabilities of their air-to-ground hypersonic weapons.
“The hypersonic missile has a greater penetration capacity and destructive power due to its very high speed,”
explains military analyst Vassili Kachine.
First successfully tested in 2018, Kinjal hypersonic missiles hit all their targets during trials at a range of 1.000 km to 2.000 km, according to the Russian Defence Ministry. But this range can be extended because they’re fired from jets, in particular the Mig-31.
Then there are also the Zircon hypersonic missiles which are fired from a surface ship or submarine.
The advantage of these supersonic weapons is that they cannot be intercepted in time and yet they cause enormous damage when they reach their target within minutes, without being able to reach the enemy who shoots them.
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