Thursday, November 24, 2022

Russian MiG-31 aircraft ‘armed with hypersonic missile’ spotted in Belarus

A Russian MiG-31K Foxhound jet fighter armed with an ‘unstoppable’ nuclear-capable hypersonic missile was reportedly spotted in Belarus.

According to the Belarusian Hajun Project, MiG-31K aircraft with RF-92339 number together with the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (Dagger) strike system was spotted in Belarus during training sorties.

Moscow claims its ‘Kinzhal’ missile system is “unstoppable” by current Western weapons. The system is designed for a strike at targets at a distance of over 2,000 km.

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The length of the KH-47M2 is about three meters, externally it is distinguished by the air intake of the ramjet air-jet engine projecting at the bottom – a similar configuration is used on the latest strategic missiles KH-101. The speed of the new missile exceeds 4 Mach.

Image by the Belarusian Hajun Project

Hypersonic missiles are weapons designed to fly at speeds greater than five times the speed of sound, or Mach 5, which is about 3,800 mph (6,100 kph). Their speed and ability to maneuver themselves to a target make them extremely difficult to track and shoot down.

Belarus-based Russian forces pushed into northern Ukraine at the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country in late February in a bid to capture Kyiv, a 150-kilometer drive from the Belarusian border. Lukashenko kept his forces out of direct involvement in the invasion, while publicly supporting it and allowing Russia’s military to use Belarusian territory and infrastructure.

Ukrainian forces supplied with Western weapons stopped the Russian assault outside Kyiv and counterattacked, prompting a Russian withdrawal from northern Ukrainian areas around Kyiv and a retreat into Belarus by early April.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.

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