AFP — March 11, 2018
Russia has said it successfully launched a hypersonic missile described by Vladimir Putin as an ideal weapon when he unveiled new armaments earlier this month.
The Kinzhal missile was launched from a MiG-31 aircraft that took off from an airfield in south-western Russia, the defence ministry said.
“The launch went according to plan: the hypersonic missile hit its target,” the ministry said.
It released footage of two pilots preparing for a flight and then running towards a jet carrying a large missile.
Set to rousing, patriotic music, the video showed a missile detaching from the airborne plane and gliding across the sky, leaving a fiery trail.
The Kinzhal missile was one of the weapons the Russian president unveiled in his state of the nation address earlier this month, ahead of a presidential election on 18 March that he is all but guaranteed to win.
Putin said the missile flies at 10 times the speed of the sound and can overcome air-defence systems.
The missile has been deployed in the southern military district since 1 December, he said.
Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister, said on Facebook that work had been carried out to modernise the “unique” MiG-31 that will carry the missile.
Since the start of the year, more than 250 sorties have been carried out by the aircraft to perfect the missile system, the defence ministry said.