The Russian Su-34 is said to be capable of firing the Kinzhal hypersonic missile

It has been reported that a Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile was fired by a Russian Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft during a mission in Ukraine. This would be the first time the Kinzhal has been used by this type of aircraft. A Russian defense official informed state news agency TASS that "The Su-34 fighter jet used the Kinzhal hypersonic missile in the special military operation," which refers to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The first crew to have successfully completed such a task will receive state awards. The exact time and location of the launch were not disclosed.


The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal is an air-launched ballistic missile that is hypersonic and can reach speeds of Mach 10 to Mach 12, which is 10 or 12 times the speed of sound. It is similar to the first stage of the Iskander ground-launched ballistic missile, with the addition of a booster to bring it to hypersonic speeds in the atmosphere. Its weight is estimated at around 4,300 kilograms (9,500 pounds). Up until this point, it had only been launched by specially modified MiG-31K heavy interceptors that can carry up to 9,000 kilograms (20,000 pounds) of payload, reach a top speed of up to Mach 2.83 (3,500 kilometers per hour), and an altitude ceiling of over 25,000 meters (82,000 feet).

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In contrast, the Su-34 has a similar maximum payload capacity of approximately 8,000 kilograms (18,000 pounds), although some sources claim it can carry up to 12,000 kilograms (26,000 pounds) of ordnance. Its reported speed is Mach 1.53 (1,900 kilometers per hour), and its maximum flight altitude is 17,000 meters (55,000 feet). Therefore, the Kinzhal's capabilities should be reduced when fired from a Su-34.

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The Kinzhal is one of several hypersonic weapons that Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled in 2018, aimed at countering NATO's air defense systems. It was first used in a combat mission in March 2023, with strikes reported in Ukraine. On May 4, 2023, a spokesperson from the US Department of Defense reported the interception of a Kh-47 hypersonic missile over Kyiv by the recently deployed Patriot air defense system. The warhead of a Kinzhal missile was displayed at the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise.

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