russia Started Using Kh-69 Cruise Missiles, What Makes Them Special

The Kh-69 cruise missile / Open source photo
The Kh-69 cruise missile / Open source photo

Pointing has appeared in open sources indicating that the russians have started using Kh-69 cruise missiles for strikes on Ukraine, designed for tactical aircraft of the russian Aerospace Forces

In particular, in one of its publications, Defense Express pointed out that information about the use of the Kh-69 missiles by the russians emerged after a massive strike on February 7, 2024.

It's interesting that almost two weeks after this episode, Western observers began to pay attention to the fact with the Kh-69. The first in this regard is the publication from the specialized portal The Drive.

Read more: russia Uses New Missile Systems Against Ukraine More Frequently But with No Tangible Result

The publication mentions a version with reference to Ukrainian sources stating that russians may have used three Kh-69 missiles for a strike on Ukraine on the night of February 8, and that the carrier of such cruise missiles could be a Su-34 aircraft.

Image of the theoretical placement of the Kh-69 on the Su-57, Defense Express
Image of the theoretical placement of the Kh-69 on the Su-57 / Open source photo

Furthermore, The Drive authors provided data, citing the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), indicating that in February 2023, the Kh-69 missile was likely put into production. Additionally, as of September of the previous year, this cruise missile supposedly underwent flight testing.

The portal's authors state that this cruise missile can be considered a "repackaging" of the Kh-59MK2, but with some structural differences: "the missile now featuring a boxy, trapezoidal-section body, tailored to fit in the weapons bay of the Su-57. At the top of the body is a pair of pop-out wings, with four fins at the rear that also deploy in flight."

The Kh-59MK, two Kh-59MK2, and the Kh-69 cruise missiles, Defense Express
The Kh-59MK, two Kh-59MK2, and the Kh-69 cruise missiles / Open source photo

The publication mentions that the missile carries a warhead weighing 310 kilograms with a mass of 710 kilograms. The maximum range is 290 kilometers, and the operating speed is about 700-1000 kilometers per hour. The Kh-69 is "universal" in terms of carriers, so it can be used not only with the Su-57 but also with aircraft like the MiG-29K, MiG-35, Su-34, and Su-35.

The most interesting are the conclusions presented by The Drive based on the information about the Kh-69 missile: "while there have been claims of Su-57s having been exposed to operations in the Ukraine conflict, there’s no firm evidence of this." And the very fact of using such missiles is an attempt by the russians to test the capabilities of the Kh-69 in real combat conditions.

The Kh-69 cruise missile, Defense Express
The Kh-69 cruise missile / Open source photo
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