WASHINGTON — Russia’s attack stealth cruise missile Kh-101, also known by its NATO designation AS-23A Kodiak, uses integrated US-made chips, a total of 35 in number. The information comes from Ukrainian intelligence. Some of the Russian weapons systems seized by the Ukrainians since the beginning of the war have been dismantled and the facts have been established.
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The chips found in the Russian Kh-101 missile were manufactured by Texas Instruments, Atmel Corp. Rochester Electronics, Cypress Semiconductor, Maxim Integrated, XILINX, Infineon Technologies, Intel, Onsemi, and Micron Technology. A complete list of used American microchips has been sent to the Pentagon.
Ukrainian intelligence also claims that the Kh-101 is not a precedent. The Russian 9S932-1, a radar-equipped air defense command post vehicle that is part of the larger Barnaul-T system, a Pantsir air defense system, and the Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter are also full of US-made chips. The total number of chips found in the listed weapons systems is 35, and together with those of the Kh-101 missile, it is clear that in only four weapons systems the Russians have integrated 70 US-made microchips.
So far we do not know how many of Russia’s weapons systems developed in recent decades use US-made microchips, but the components of Ukrainian intelligence found in the four weapons cited raise a logical question: Does Russia have the ability to produce critical components and semiconductors?
Despite the sanctions imposed on the Russian economy in recent years [since 2014 after the annexation of Crimea], in some way these chips have gone to Russian weapons developers and designers. There is no evidence of direct sales between the United States and Russia. This market is difficult to regulate: Moscow may have bought the chips from third parties. Another possibility is that these chips were delivered from China, as this country is a world leader in chip recycling. However, there are two other possibilities: someone has violated the provisions of the imposed economic sanctions or the chips are simply not military.
Experts in the United States [such as Skip Parish] are already saying that Western Western technology in Russian weapons speaks to two main things: “Russia’s dependence on Western technology” and “US failure or non-existent control of international arms trafficking rules.”
Let’s look at the situation with the Kh-101 stealth attack cruise missile. The two photos below show only part of the 35 microchips found in the rocket. Experts from BulgarianMilitary.com found that they look like microchips produced in the ’60s and ’70s in the United States. This confirms one of the supposed possibilities, i.e. opportunity for recycled chips from China.
A Ukrainian expert says the chips used in the Kh-101 stealth attack cruise missile may not have been recycled in China, but in the former Soviet-era plant, the Voronezh Radio Parts Plant, the Minsk Plant, or the Integral Plant.
There is evidence that a significant number of Kh-101 missiles fired on the territory of Ukraine do not hit the targets, which again raises the question: how old are the US-made chips discovered, and how effective combined with Russian technology?
Microchips from the American company Onsemi have been found in some of Russia’s weapons systems. However, the company is not responsible for this, as this company does not produce military microchips, but products that are publicly available on international civilian markets. The company cannot be blamed for anything. Other US companies have responded to allegations that they have not worked with the Russian market for a long time or that they do not find their products in the cited weapons systems.
All this raises a general question: if Russia buys chips and recycled Western chips from China, are technology sanctions against Russia effective? Especially against the background of the fact that as it turned out, some microchips can be found in the neighborhood store, or the most ordinary online store.
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