Intact Russian Kinzhal ‘hypersonic’ missile was unearthed in Kyiv

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Images have surfaced, reportedly showing an unexploded Russian Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile. Ukrainian sources suggest that this missile likely formed part of the Russian assaults, which took place at the tail end of the previous year and the dawn of 2024 [specifically, December 28, December 29, January 2]. 

In these pictures, you can observe the extensive digging performed by Ukraine’s State Emergency Service to gain access to the buried missile warhead. Although some parties have argued that the missile was intercepted and brought down, there is yet to be concrete proof supporting this claim. 

The images reveal intriguing details: notably, the missile’s warhead appears to be in pristine condition, showing no apparent signs of damage or compromise to its casing. However, we should tread with caution because there’s no definitive proof yet that the wreckage belongs to a Russian Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile. Confirmation or denial of these claims is anticipated in the future.

Claims without evidence

If it is indeed part of the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile’s warhead that has been discovered, it would mark the initial instance of proof that Ukraine has access to such a warhead. Consequently, this would provide Kyiv and NATO scientists with a golden opportunity to conduct a more in-depth examination of the remnants, thus deepening their comprehension of the consumed materials, parts, and electronic components involved. 

According to Ukraine, a total of 16 Kinzhal missiles, which Russia asserts are hypersonic missiles, have been intercepted since hostilities began. Ukraine also made claims of successfully shooting down six such missiles in the previous year and an additional ten in the recent attacks that took place late last year and at the beginning of this year.

Photo credit: YouTube

Despite these claims, there is yet to be any evidence made available that suggests that the air defense systems stationed near Kyiv or anywhere else in Ukraine have been successful in countering a Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile. Also, there is still not enough conclusive evidence that the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal is a hypersonic missile.

It is technologically impossible

Current technology still finds it challenging to intercept a hypersonic missile in its final maneuvering phase. This piece delves into the hurdles faced by contemporary air defense systems when confronting hypersonic weaponry. 

Photo by Alexey Kudenko

However, there may exist a slim window of possibility to intercept a Kinzhal missile right after it’s deployed from the MiG-31K plane. Specifically, this could happen during its climb toward the stratosphere’s edge when it’s not yet executing any maneuvers. 

But that’s not an easy feat. For such interception to be successful, the anti-aircraft system, such as the Patriot, needs to be situated incredibly close to the Kinzhal’s launch site. Given the Kinzhal’s considerable reach of 2,000 km, the chances of having a Patriot battery within a 30 km radius [which is the PAC-3 interceptor’s range] of the Kinzhal’s launch point are relatively low.

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

Photo credit: Wikipedia

On February 21, 2022, Russia stated that its border facility was attacked by Ukrainian forces, resulting in the deaths of five Ukrainian fighters. However, Ukraine quickly dismissed these allegations, labeling them as ‘false flags’.

In a notable move on the same day, Russia announced it officially recognized the self-proclaimed areas of DPR and LPR. Interestingly, according to Russian President Putin, this recognition covered all the Ukrainian regions. Following this declaration, Putin sent a battalion of Russia’s military forces, tanks included, into these areas.

Fast forward to February 24, 2022, global headlines were dominated by a significant incident. Putin commanded a forceful military assault on Ukraine. Led by Russia’s impressive Armed Forces positioned at the Ukrainian border, this assault wasn’t spontaneous but a premeditated action. Despite the circumstances resembling a war, the Russian government refrains from using this term. They’d rather refer to it as a “special military operation”.

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