A new, secret version of a Russian cruise missile was found in the Ukrainian central Vinnytsia region after a new wave of Russian missile strikes pounded cities throughout the country.
According to the Defense Express, the Ukrainian Air Force has released footage showing relatively intact remains of a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile which was equipped with an electro-optical guidance system and decoy flare.
The Kh-101 is an advanced cruise missile under development to eventually replace the Kh-55 missile onboard the Soviet/Russian strategic bombers such as Tu-160 and Tu-95. The Kh-101 has a 400-kg conventional warhead, stealth features, high subsonic speed and low altitude flight profile. The conventionally-armed Kh-101 has also been referred to as the Russian counterpart to the United States Air Force AGM-129 air-launched cruise missile.
The previously unknown version of a cruise missile is equipped with guidance systems scan to help determine a missile’s position. It is a digital system designed to guide missiles in real-time by using camera inputs to determine location.
The guidance system can visually identify targets instead of simply attacking estimated coordinates. It reportedly performs a correlation between a stored image and a snapshot of the terrain beneath the missile to generate a position fix.
Another view of the Kh-101 missile shows a section with airborne countermeasures dispenser system that defeats infrared and radio frequency missiles. When the aircraft’s sensors detect a threat, the countermeasure dispenser system automatically launches radiofrequency and infrared countermeasures at the optimum time to defeat incoming missiles.
Defense Express also stated that an X-ray of the dispenser system itself was made, which confirms that this is precisely the filling of this module.
“At the same time, the logic of using such modules with heat traps (countermeasure system) remains unclear. Since in order to detect the launch of missiles with infrared homing heads, it is necessary to install a massive system with surveillance cameras. Without this system, shooting heat traps in automatic mode is impossible,” the report says.
The advanced self-protection kit of Russian cruise missiles is essential for airborne missions in today’s demanding and complex mission environments.
Massive missile strikes on Ukraine have still not achieved the goals declared by Moscow, and Russian engineers are trying to improve the effectiveness of their missiles and increase the chance of mission success during the subsequent shelling.