IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


27th December, 2023 Security


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  • Russia employed its AS-24 KILLJOY hypersonic missile, which the country has projected as an “invincible weapon.”
  • The rocket, however, was taken down by the Ukrainian air defense system, leaving Moscow with a red face again.


  • The Kh-47M2, also nicknamed "Kinzhal" (Dagger), is a new Russian air-launched ballistic missile.
  • Western reporting name for this weapon is AS-24 or Killjoy.

Overview of the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal Missile

  • This weapon was tested and evaluated by the Russian military starting from 2017 and was first publicly revealed in 2018.

Capabilities and Deployment:

  • Initially integrated with 10 MiG-31K long-range multi-role fighters in 2018 for operational use.
  • Its primary role is as a long-range standoff weapon to engage significant targets, including warships like aircraft carriers, cruisers, and destroyers.

Aircraft Compatibility:

  • Initially carried and launched by MiG-31K fighters and later integrated into the Tu-22M3 medium-range bomber.
  • Planned integration onto the Su-57 stealthy multi-role fighters.

Performance and Range:

  • Reported maximum range of up to 2,000 km, significantly extending the reach of Russian multi-role fighters compared to previous air-to-ground missiles.
  • Allegedly travels at Mach 10 (around 12,000 km/h) and takes approximately 10 minutes to reach maximum range, though claims about its speed have faced skepticism.

Warhead and Features:

  • Capable of carrying conventional high explosive or a low-yield nuclear warhead weighing 500 kg.
  • Utilizes maneuverability and hypersonic speed to counteract hostile air defense systems, making interception difficult.

Accuracy and Guidance:

  • Likely equipped with modern guidance systems with satellite navigation, providing high accuracy with a Circular Error Probable (CEP) of around 10-20 meters.
  • Reports suggest it employs an optical homing system for increased terminal-stage accuracy.

Operational Use and Countermeasures:

  • Initially employed in the Russian invasion of Ukraine from 2022, with some reported engagements in May 2023.
  • Ukrainian Patriot anti-ballistic missile systems allegedly intercepted most, if not all, Kinzhal missiles used after 2023, leading to skepticism and issues for the Russian developers.

Hype and Realities of Hypersonic Missiles

  • Defining Hypersonic Missiles:
    • Hypersonic missiles move faster than five times the speed of sound, making them incredibly difficult to intercept due to their high speed and unpredictable trajectory.
  • Plasma Cloud and Stealth Features:
    • Hypersonic missiles, including the Kinzhal, produce a plasma cloud during flight, making them undetectable to radars and enhancing their survivability.
    • Their speed and trajectory make them difficult to track and intercept by missile defense systems.
  • US and Global Hypersonic Efforts:
    • The US is actively developing hypersonic weapons but emphasizes their use for conventional warheads, unlike reports of other nations deploying nuclear-capable systems.
    • Debate continues regarding the actual game-changing capabilities and survivability of hypersonic weapons in military contexts.
  • Complexities and Countermeasures:
    • The efficacy of hypersonic weapons, their maneuverability, and survivability are being debated amidst ongoing global developments.
    • Efforts are underway to counter hypersonic threats, such as the US Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike program and the Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) development to counteract hypersonic missiles.


Q. Elaborate on the global perspectives and ongoing efforts in the development and deployment of hypersonic missile systems. (250 Words)