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February 19, 2023 2:08 pm

Russia Ramps up Hypersonic Cruise Missile Production

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avatar by i24 News

A Russian Air Force MiG-31 fighter jet releases Kinzhal hypersonic missile during a drill in an unknown location in Russia, in this still image taken from video released February 19, 2022. Photo: Russian Defense Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

i24 News – Russia’s state military corporation Rostec announced on Saturday that it had begun expanding its manufacturing of Kinzhal hypersonic cruise missiles.

“It went into production a long time ago. Initially, we didn’t need such a quantity. We are now increasing,” Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov said in a Zvezda Plus TV channel interview, according to news reports. Chemezov also reportedly said that the defense company increased the production of some munitions by 50 times.

The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal – “Dagger” in Russian – is a hypersonic air-launched missile with a range of more than 1,200 miles, typically carried by customized MiG-31K fighter jets. Recently, MiG-31Ks have been spotted in Kaliningrad after tensions with Lithuania as well as in Belarus on training missions.

The hypersonic missile can carry conventional and nuclear bombs at incredible speeds while dodging modern air defense systems. The Kinzhal is said to have been used for the first time to attack a Ukrainian position early in the nearly one-year-old conflict.

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The Kremlin has called these Kinzhal “unstoppable” and said they have no match in the West. However, despite Russia’s boasts of the weapon and its development of other “next-generation” systems, many Western specialists feel that Russia overstates the relevance of these weapons. For example, the United Kingdom’s Defense Ministry has stated that the use of the Kinzhal was “likely intended to detract from a lack of progress in Russia’s ground campaign” and “unlikely to materially affect the outcome of Russia’s campaign” in Ukraine.

Russia’s claims on increased munitions production came after the UK’s Wednesday assessment which stated that Moscow’s defense industry was having trouble restocking its inventory. Western intelligence agencies have long claimed that because the Russian defense industry relies on foreign electronics and materials for manufacture, economic sanctions have limited its ability to produce modern guided missiles.

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