The Kinzhal hypersonic missile was most likely test-launched from a Tu-22M3M long-range strategic bomber.
As part of the work on creating and testing advanced aviation weapons aimed at ground and possibly maritime surface targets, a Kinzhal hypersonic missile was test-launched from a modernized long-range supersonic bomber-carrier Tupolev Tu-22M3M with a variable sweep wing.
This was reported by a source of the Russian news agency TASS in the military-industrial complex.
“Recently, a new hypersonic product was tested on the Tu-22M3. The missile will be part of the armament range of the upgraded Tu-22M3M along with a number of other latest aviation weapons,” the TASS source said.
The source didn’t specifically say what the new “hypersonic product” that was tested was. The source noted that work on the new missile began several years ago, missile tests should be completed along with work on the modernized Tu-22M3M bomber.
He clarified that this product does not belong to the X-32 missile line, noting that it is “completely different.” He didn’t specify and of the characteristics.
TASS also received no official comment or confirmation from Tupolev, which produces and is responsible for modernizing the long-range strategic bombers.
Earlier, the Russian defense industry developed two types of aircraft hypersonic missiles. One of them is the Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched ballistic missile and is used on the MiG-31K fighter, it is capable of accelerating to Mach 10+ and was presumably created on the basis of the Iskander ground-based missile system. It is also expected to be equipped on the Tu-22M3.
Another hypersonic air-launched missile is reportedly being developed for the fifth-generation fighter Su-57 and should be placed inside its fuselage. Missile name and characteristics are unknown.
The prototype of the upgraded Tu-22M3M long-range strategic bomber made its first flight on December 28th, 2018.
According to PJSC Tupolev, the missile carrier has an expanded combat potential. Former Commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces Viktor Bondarev, head of the Defense and Security Council Committee, previously reported that the Tu-22M3M will be able to carry, in addition to cruise missiles X-32, hypersonic missiles.
Below is a video of a Tu-22M3M taking off in engine afterburner mode.
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