The U.S vs. Russia – are American missiles capable of catching up with nuclear Russia’s Kinzhal?
MOSCOW, (BM) – The United States has set itself the task of catching up with Russia in developing one of the most promising types of weapons – hypersonic missiles. They began to create their own samples in the United States a few years ago, but the advent of the Kinzhal rocket spurred American activity. How did this happen and how will the American missile differ from the Russian “Kinzhal”?
The development of the American hypersonic missile AGM-183, created under the ARRW program, has been going on for several years. This rocket has been reported in the Russian press before (however, the missile was mistakenly called aeroballistic, although this is not entirely true). On November 3, 2019, the authors of the BMPD blog drew attention to information published on the website of the US Department of Defense that the development of the rocket had moved to a new stage. Now the Pentagon intends to dramatically accelerate rocket R&D, so that in 2022 a sample is ready for mass production.
What do we know about ARRW
The AGM-183, created under the ARRW program (also known as Arrow – “arrow”), is a two-stage solid-fuel rocket with a length of about 6.5-6.6 meters and a diameter of about 0.7 meters. After the rocket is uncoupled from the carrier, the first stage raises the rocket to a great height. Then, after its separation, the second stage flies down to the target in the “jet glider” mode, that is, at the same time due to its aerodynamics and the accelerating solid propellant jet engine. The combination of gravity and jet propulsion accelerates the apparatus to speeds characterized as “hypersonic”.
Some sources indicate that the speed of the rocket can reach up to 20 Machs, which is extremely doubtful. Nevertheless, it is a fast rocket. Its flight range is still difficult to assess, it can be hundreds of kilometers or more than a thousand kilometers. Lockheed declared his readiness to begin mass production of the rocket no later than 36 months after the completion of the creation contract.
Both the AGM-183 and the “Kinzhal” are solid fuel. That is, the repetition of the technical miracle from the Boeing is not in any case, nor in another. Both missiles are similar to aeroballistic, but they are not, at least the American missile for sure, and the Russian one most likely. Their decrease despite the steepness of the trajectory is not a ballistic fall.
Both missiles are likely to develop close speed at the moment of impact on the target. Judging by the media used, the “Kinzhal” needs a great starting speed. The Americans launch their rocket from a subsonic plane (however, they could pay for this with a range). The Americans do not position their missile as capable of attacking mobile targets, unlike the Russians. Another difference is that the American rocket is slightly smaller. Most likely, both missiles are capable of being used in a variant with a nuclear warhead or will be capable of when they begin to be mass-produced. One way or another, the combat capabilities of the missiles will eventually be comparable.
A huge advantage of the American missile is the ability to launch from slow-moving carriers – however, there are no fundamental prohibitions on whether the Russian missile could be launched, for example, from Tu-95, albeit at the cost of reducing the flight range. And – a common point – both missiles are slowly becoming a source of myths about their superpowers. It is simply impossible to make a detailed comparison due to the lack of data and the fact that the American project is at the very beginning of its path and has not yet reached flight tests.
Nevertheless, it is worth considering that approximately in the years 2025–2026 hypersonic missiles of this type will begin to enter the US Air Force en masse. Those countries that may become the target of an American attack (and this is any country independent of the United States) must take this fact into account when creating their own air defense and missile defense systems.
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Author: Alexander Timohin
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect BGM`s editorial stance