Russia develops weapons against hypersonic missiles, a source said

MOSCOW, (BM) – Russia is not only developing hypersonic weapons, but also creating means of protection against them. As sources in the military-industrial complex told Izvestia, domestic engineers are now designing an ultra-long-range air-based missile capable of intercepting high-speed and maneuvering targets.

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According to experts, this work is extremely relevant today: the Pentagon has already announced plans to test four new hypersonic munitions in 2020. And the day before, US President Donald Trump said that Americans already have super-fast missiles that can move 5-7 times faster than conventional ones. The novelty will also come in handy for the fight against modern aircraft and cruise missiles.

Today, only our country has hypersonic weapons, but many foreign countries are actively engaged in their creation.

Long-range interception

The Ministry of Defense made a fundamental decision to develop for the MiG-31 fighter and the promising MiG-41 multifunctional long-range interceptor missile system (MPKR DP), capable of hitting hypersonic ammunition. According to Izvestia sources familiar with the situation, theoretical studies have already been carried out on an ultra-long-range air-to-air missile with a multiple warhead.

Now determine the characteristics and composition of the complex. According to Izvestia, one of the candidates for the role of submunition (head blocks) is a promising medium-range missile K-77M.

The fact that sooner or later hypersonic weapons will appear in the leading countries of the world, Vladimir Putin spoke in May last year at a meeting on the defense industry complex (MIC). Then the Russian president set the task to develop means of protection against this type of armament before it is created abroad.

And in his address to the Federal Assembly in 2018, the head of state even recalled that supersonic speed is measured by Makhami – units named after the Austrian scientist Ernst Mach, who was engaged in research in this area. The speed of sound is 1 Mach, from 1 to 5 Mach – supersonic, from 5 and more – hypersound.

The complex under development is one of the options for such protection. Airborne heavy ammunition will deliver a warhead with several modern air-to-air missiles over a distance of several hundred kilometers. Then they will separate from the carrier and begin to search and attack targets on their own. An active homing head with its own radar will help them in this.

Such a system makes it possible to destroy objects at long range, said military expert Dmitry Kornev. This is necessary, for example, in order to hit the carrier before it launches its missiles.

“An ordinary anti-aircraft missile has one warhead,” he told Izvestia. – The probability of a miss on a hypersonic maneuvering target is very high. But if one ammunition carries several homing shells, then the chances of hitting a high-speed object increase significantly.

According to the expert, in the case of firing IFRK DP at hypersonic targets, all warheads will be displayed at a pre-calculated point on the trajectory of a flying munition and attack it in the forehead. The use of ultra-long-range missiles will expand the area of ​​destruction of the interceptor.

Especially effective is the use of the complex during aircraft operations as part of a single information space. Aerial targets, cruise or hypersonic missiles can be detected by ground-based radars, early warning radars, or an attack warning system. The fighter will only need to launch an ultra-long-range missile in the desired area. At the same time, the interceptor will not have to risk it himself, entering into an air battle.

Hypersonic Weapons Race

Our country was the first to not only develop, but also put into service hypersonic systems. The MiG-31K fighter-interceptor became the carrier of the “Dagger” missiles, designed to combat land and sea targets. And in December last year, the regiment of the Strategic Missile Forces of mine-based equipment was equipped with an intercontinental Vanguard.

At present, only Russia has hypersonic weapons, however, many foreign states are actively engaged in their development, said Vadim Kozyulin, professor of the Academy of Military Sciences.

“The Americans are progressively moving toward the creation of hypersonic devices,” he told Izvestia. – Ahead is a serious race in this area. And now we already need to work on means of protection against such types of weapons. By the way, they are also working on similar tools in the USA.

The day before, US President Donald Trump said that Americans have super-fast missiles that can move 5-7 times faster than conventional ones. Speaking to the governors, the head of the United States also gave his explanation of the fact that the first hypersonic weapons appeared precisely in Russia: according to him, Moscow may have received technology from the plans of the administration of the former owner of the White House – Barack Obama.

At the end of January, the acting US Navy Commander Thomas Modley admitted that his country lagged behind Russia in creating hypersonic weapons. He compared the situation with 1957, when the USSR was the first to launch an artificial Earth satellite. Pentagon CEO Mark Esper has announced doubling this year of funding for the development of land, air and sea-based hypersonic ammunition. According to US media, nine projects are currently underway in the interests of the military. In 2020, flight tests of four prototypes are scheduled.

The US Navy will test its own hypersonic glider warhead planning this year. They plan to equip missiles that will go into service with new destroyers. The U.S. Air Force will test two ammunition for mounting on bombers, including the already declassified AGM-183A ARRW. The army began work on a ground-launched missile with the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon maneuvering warhead. Other projects are at an earlier stage. All of them will have non-nuclear warheads.

Own developments in this direction are also actively conducted in China. In the fall there was presented a medium-range ballistic missile DF-17 with a maneuvering warhead. Foreign media already call the current situation a hypersonic arms race. According to the American command, the new weapons will change future wars no less than the appearance of nuclear weapons did.

“The development of protection against non-strategic hypersonic missiles is starting around the world, and the United States is also seeking such funds,” said Vadim Kozyulin. – DARPA (Office of Promising Research Projects of the Pentagon. – “Izvestia”) allocated several million dollars for their creation. The amount is relatively small, and results can hardly be expected in the near future. But this is a touchstone.

The ongoing design of the IFRC complex demonstrates that Russia is ahead not only in the creation of advanced weapons, but also means of protection against them.

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Editorial team
Source: Izvestia /
Anton Lavrov, Roman Krazul

The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.