Look At the Kh-101 Warhead Landed After Missile Got Shot Down

Kh-101 cruise missile / Open source archive photo
Kh-101 cruise missile / Open source archive photo

The payload remained intact after the missile was shot during a series of strikes on Ukraine

Commander-in-Chief of Ukrainian Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi reported that during today's russian aerial attack on Ukrainian infrastructure, 36 out of 43 missiles were taken down by air defense. The russians had launched Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles from Tu-95MS bombers, the targets were facilities of civilian infrastructure.

Defense Express obtained a photo from our own sources showing a piece of wreckage left after one of the neutralized missiles fell to the ground. This is the warhead of a Kh-101.

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Warhead of a Kh-101
Warhead of a Kh-101 managed to survive the contact with the ground / Photo provided to Defense Express

It may appear surprising that this part of the missile has a proper cylindrical shape because all open source photos portray Kh-101 as triangular in cross-section.

In fact, a missile's warhead is one of the elements of the internal structure and does not have to match the contours of the fuselage. We can even see two pairs of holders stretching to the sides of the warhead that fasten it to the outer hull.

As for the layout of the missile, we can examine it using the scheme of the Kh-55 available in open domain – this type of missile is conceptually identical to Kh-101. The warhead is located not in the head of the missile but behind the guidance system.

Kh-55 layout. Warhead location highlighted be Defense Express
Kh-55 cruise missile layout. Warhead location highlighted be Defense Express / Open source image, edited

According to open source data, the warhead of a Kh-101 has a weight of 400 kilograms in its high-explosive version. Although we should note that not all of these 400 kg is pure explosive, the casing is also counted in. The shape is designed to give maximum firepower against stationary targets such as industrial or critical infrastructure facilities.

Kh-101 launch from a strateguc bomber
Kh-101 launch from a strategic bomber / Open source illustrative photo
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