Russia Says it Test-Fired a Hypersonic Missile

Violet Powell
March 12, 2018

Russian Federation says it has successfully test-fired a "hypersonic" missile, which President Vladimir Putin earlier this month claimed flies 10 times faster than the speed of sound.

The Russian defence ministry released video footage showing the missile detaching from a fighter jet and leaving a fiery trail behind it. "The launch was normal; the hypersonic missile hit the preset target on the test site", the ministry added.

The defence ministry said the missile was launched from a MiG-31 jet that took off from an airfield in southwest Russian Federation on Saturday.

The weapon, which is named after a type of dagger, is one of a cache of new weapons Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in a state address earlier this month, per The Guardian.

Putin accompanied his statement to an audience of hundreds of senior officials and lawmakers with videos and computer images of new weapons, which were shown on giant screens at a conference hall near the Kremlin. The massive twin-engine MiG-31 remains the fastest operational fighter capable of clocking a top speed close to Mach 3.

The missile has been deployed in the Southern Military District since December 1, he added.

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"Crews of the air system on the testing air alert sorties completed over 250 flights year-to-date under the combat training plan. The attempt at curbing Russian Federation has failed", Putin said.

Hypersonic speed, combined with flight and technical characteristics of MiG-31, is what makes the Kinzhal missile unique.

Mr Putin is widely expected to be re-elected as Russia's president in a week's time. "And I would just tell you that I saw no change to the Russian military capability and each of these systems (Mr Putin) is taking about that are still years away", he said Monday morning (AEDT).

The Kinzhal system is intended for destruction of surface and waterborne targets.

Putin has rattled Russian sabers repeatedly in the past, and military analysts said a lack of detailed information made it hard to assess his statements about weapons.

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