Russian forces have successfully fired three Kinzhal hypersonic missiles during the conflict in Ukraine, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said.
The missile “has been used by us on three occasions during the special military operation [in Ukraine]. And it showed its outstanding qualities on three occasions, qualities that no other similar missile in the world possesses,” Shoigu told Russia 1 TV on Sunday.
The Kinzhal (Dagger) is a Russian hypersonic air-to-surface missile that entered service in 2017. It can travel at a speed of Mach 12 (around 14,800kph), while constantly performing evasive maneuvers, which is believed to allow it to penetrate any currently existing air defenses. The nuclear-capable munition can be launched by the country’s Tu-22M3 bombers or MiG-31 interceptor aircraft.
The Defense Ministry reported the firing of a Kinzhal missile in mid-March, saying it destroyed an arms depot near the city of Ivano-Frankovsk deep in western Ukraine. This is apparently the first time ever that a hypersonic weapon has been used in combat.