Russian Kinzhal missile production ramps up fivefold - Defense Express

20 May, 11:50 AM
Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko shows a fragment of a Kinzhal missile, May 12, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)

Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko shows a fragment of a Kinzhal missile, May 12, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)

Russia has managed to scale up the production of Kinzhal missiles fivefold, Defence Express expert Ivan Kyrychevskyi said in an interview with Radio NV on May 17.

"Defense Minister (Oleksii) Reznikov said a very poignant and unpleasant thing: it turns out that the Russians had as many as 80 Kinzhals at the beginning of May," Kyrychevskyi said.

“This indicates that, unfortunately, they were able to scale up the production of Kinzhals fivefold.”

Kyrychevskyi said that, according to the data available at the beginning ofJanuary, the Russians had a maximum of 53 Kinzhals.

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"They managed to engage our targets with something," he said.

“And the Russians were producing one or two Kinzhal missiles per month. Now it turns out that Russians can produce up to 10 such missiles per month.”

Kyrychevskyi said the Russians' ability to attack with Kinzhals is now limited primarily by the number of serviceable MiG-31K aircraft they can get into the air at the same time. The warplane was specially adapted to be a launch platform for Kinzhal missiles.

"It seems that six MiG-31K aircraft is the maximum, with 10-12 units available on paper," the expert described Russia's ability to attack with the Kinzhal.

“And the background information disseminated by some resources that the Kinzhal can be mounted on Tu-160 or Tu-122M3 is fortunately not true. The Russians announced plans to integrate the Kinzhal into these strategic bombers, but they’ve failed to do so (so far).”

In the early hours of May 16, the Air Defense Forces shot down six Kinzhal missiles fired from six MiG-31K aircraft.

Earlier, AFU Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk confirmed on May 6 that Ukraine had shot down a Russian Kinzhal airborne ballistic missile for the first time near Kyiv in the early hours of May 4.

Kinzhal missiles came into service with the Russian military only in 2018. Six of these missiles were used during a missile attack in the early hours of March 9, 2023. According to Yuriy Ihnat, at that time Russia had about 50 such missiles.

According to military analyst Tom Cooper, there have been only three or four previous cases of Russia's using these missiles against Ukraine. In particular, on Aug. 7, 2022, such missiles struck military facilities in Vinnytsia Oblast.

The Ukrainian Air Force Command reported that the weight of the Kh-47M warhead is 500 kilograms and the missile's speed exceeds 12,000 km/h. The Kinzhal's warhead can be either conventional or nuclear.

After launching from an aircraft, such a missile rises into the upper atmosphere and reaches its maximum speed when it hits the target along a ballistic trajectory.

According to experts, the Kinzhal is likely an air-launched version of the Iskander ballistic missile.

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