The Russian Navy is all set to induct the much-hyped Kh-M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile into service, Russian daily Izvestia reports. It is claimed that these missiles cannot be intercepted by any existing air defense system.
The Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet Aviation Arm would see the first deployment of these missiles, to be carried by the MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor-attack aircraft of the 98th and 317th combined regiments. These regiments are deployed at Monchegorsk and Yelizovo airfields.
In 2014, the Northern Fleet became the core element of the newly established Northern Fleet Joint Strategic Command, comprising all Russian armed forces located in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk Oblasts and on Russia’s offshore islands along its Arctic coast.
It is on a par with Russia’s Military Districts. The Northern Fleet is responsible for operations and defense in the seas along Northern Russia, including the Barents Sea and the Kara Sea, as well as the northwestern maritime approaches to Russia including the Norwegian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
With these, the MiG-31K has proven to be a ‘perfect nuclear delivery platform’ for the Russian armed forces.
After the release at a high speed, Kinzhal accelerates to hypersonic speed and flies to the target in a complicated trajectory to evade detection or interception as much as possible. This combination allows the carrier to enter the required range, deploy the munition, destroy the target, and leave the airspace at high speed.
The targets could be major warships like an aircraft carrier, or strategic enemy installations like airfields and bases.
However, MiG-31K cannot fire air-to-air missiles and has to be engaged together with MiG-31BM. It means the future regiments will comprise at least two squadrons. One will ensure air defense and protect MiG-31K, and the other will operate MiG-31K.
The Kinzhal is a nuclear-capable air-launched hypersonic ballistic missile, with a range of 2,000 kilometers and a speed of Mach 10. It can also perform evasive maneuvers at every stage of its flight, and can also carry conventional warheads.
The missile can be launched by the Tu-22M3 bomber or MiG-31K interceptors and it entered service in December 2017. It is one of the six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 1, 2018.