Rosoboronexport shows the Kh-69 in UAE – the Su-57’s squared missile

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According to Russian media sources, Rosoboronexport is set to showcase the Kh-69 missile at the Dubai Airshow 2023 international exhibition in Dubai. 

Photo by Giovanni Colla/Daniele Faccioli

The notable detail, as highlighted by BulgarianMilitary.com, is the novel international exposure of this missile, which has previously not been exhibited outside Russia. An important feature of Russia’s fifth-generation stealth fighter, the Su-57, the world will get its first glimpse of this missile. 

The specifics about the Kh-69 remain sparse. Its existence came to light in 2022, initially being introduced in Russia’s domestic market. The spotlight once again shifted towards it in February of the same year, when the missile piqued the interest of Dmitry Medvedev, the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

Photo credit: Getty Images

What is special about this rocket?

Commencing with its unique square-shaped structure, the missile, according to its developers, is tailored specifically to fit seamlessly within the fuselage of Russia’s 5th generation stealth fighter, the Su-57. This missile boasts several features, making it multifunctional, discreet, highly precise, and undoubtedly a product of modern warfare technology. 

The missile’s stealth capabilities are primarily achieved through its fuselage design and a specially developed coating. This renders the missile almost undetectable to enemy air defense radars. Russian officials claim that this advanced technology makes the missile virtually impossible for an adversary’s air defenses to intercept or neutralize.

Photo credit: Telegram

The Su-57 isn’t the only aircraft capable of wielding this weapon. The Su-35, Su-30MK, and Su-34 fighters can also accommodate the missile. Notably, these aircraft are currently seeing active service in the conflict in Ukraine.

Purpose of Kh-69

The latest rocket underscores a fascinating purpose. Specifically, its design caters to the obliteration of transport infrastructure facilities– this encompasses railway stations and interchanges alike.

In the eyes of Moscow experts, a highly pressing task emerges amidst Russia’s military tactics in Ukraine. This sense of urgency amplifies particularly with the West’s announcement of substantial shipments of tanks and numerous other armaments to Ukraine. One could surmise that the X-69 will serve an instrumental role in advancing Russia’s objectives.

This weapon is proficient at targeting locations such as ammunition and fuel storage facilities, command structures, communication centers, oil refineries, petrochemical plants, large-scale industrial workshops, and power plant engine rooms. These objectives align with the tactical approach adopted by Russia in its actions towards Ukraine.

The missile guidance system employs an integrated approach, leveraging both a frameless inertial system and GLONASS and GPS satellite navigation platforms. Currently, rumors are circulating that the missile is on the brink of being mass-produced. However, a definitive timeline for this phase is yet to be announced.

Disadvantages of Kh-69

Given the identified attributes, the Kh-69 possesses a couple of substantial shortcomings. Chiefly, its susceptibility to contemporary air defense systems like NASAMS makes it a potentially easy target. In addition, there’s a notable necessity for an enhancement in the missile’s precision and maneuverability capabilities.

In the United States, one possible analog to the “Kh-69” may well be the AGM-158 JASSM [Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile]. This versatile weaponry is utilized for strikes on air, ground, and maritime targets alike. Yet, the AGM-158 JASSM distinguishes itself by its superior accuracy, thanks largely to the incorporation of both GPS and inertial navigation systems.

The missile boasts the notable capability of maneuvering while in flight, significantly enhancing its longevity on the battlefield. Despite their variances, cruise missiles share a key trait – their stealth capability. This is achieved through the employment of a unique radio-absorbing coat that renders them less detectable.

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