The Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has confirmed the successful interception of the Kh-47 Kinzhal missile, an air-launched weapon that is said to be capable of reaching hypersonic speed.
The announcement comes from the Commander of the Air Force himself, Mykola Oleshchuk. The russia missile was taken down overnight May 4, around 2:40 local time in the skies over Kyiv. The notice points to the PATRIOT as the system that managed to neutralize the russian Kh-47.
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Defense Express managed to obtain exclusive photos of the remnants of this missile. Based on these photos and ones shared by the Kyiv police department, the fragments fell on a stadium within the capital. One of the pictures shows the characteristic head of the missile, made of several parts with increasing diameter, as in the comparison below.
As for the hypersonic capability of the Kh-47 Kinzhal, it can indeed reach hypersonic speed thanks to the equipped booster but it cannot maintain this speed along the entire flight. Only during the terminal phase it approaches the target along the ballistic trajectory and has a potent speed but it can be called "hypersonic" only formally.
Now that the first prototype was successfully shot down in combat, May 4 also becomes the day when the russian myth about their "hypersonic weapons" is shattered because its development lasted at least since the 2010s and was recognized only in 2018. President of russia Putin claimed the Kinzhal "guarantees breaking through all the existing and I think, the prospective anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, and delivering conventional or nuclear charges upon a target up to 2,000 km away."
All the advertising of Kinzhal turned it into the touchstone of the russian weapon industry, the development consumed enormous resources and time, MiG-31K aircraft was modernized specifically to be able to carry and launch this missile.
But the Air Force of Ukraine proved that Kinzhal is possible to neutralize even with already existing air defense systems like the Patriot PAC 3, let alone the prospective ones.
Though most importantly, besides the Kinzhal, russia spent no less resources in the development of the Zircon sea- and ground-launched missile. The concept is the same as Kinzhal: it accelerates to hypersonic with a booster but then the speed drops and thus makes Zircon not a fully capable hypersonic weapon.
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