Nuclear Weapons of Russia -2: Dagger (Kınzhal- Kh-47m2)

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While Russia and the United States (US) continue to take steps to accelerate nuclear armament, it has been seen that the parties have increased their momentum in hypersonic weapons studies, and hypersonic missiles have become a trend that will form the basis of world armament studies in the coming period. Due to their very high speed and their capacity to exceed existing defensive weapons, these new weapons systems have further increased the cost of a nuclear war. This has revealed the need to requestion the concepts of the first hit and the second hit.   Time will tell how these weapons will affect the concept of “deterrence.” Probably, the “New Cold War” will take shape in the shadow of hypersonic weapons systems.

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu stated that Russia has used Kinzhal hypersonic missiles three times in Ukraine, made it clear that Russia has moved from the testing phase to the use phase in hypersonic weapons systems. Shoigu stated that the Kinzhal missiles have achieved great success in hitting high-value targets, are of incomparable effectiveness with other weapons, and it is almost impossible to shoot down these missiles.[1]

Kinzhal missiles, one of the six new generation weapon systems introduced by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2018 as “next generation weapons”, are hypersonic air-launched weapon systems capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads. Designed to be used with MIG-31K fighter jets and TU-22M3 bombers after being designed, these missiles have the ability to reach 10 times the speed of sound (10 mach).[2] It is stated that the missile reaches a range of 2.000 km if used with the MIG-31 fighter jet, and 3.000 km if used with the TU-22M3 bomber (when the flight range is added).[3]

The biggest difference of Kinzhal from the SARMAT and AVANGARD weapon systems is that they are not only weapons at a strategic level and capable of carrying out nuclear missions; but also capable of being used in the form of a conventional weapon at the tactical level. In fact, its use against underground ammunition and weapons depots in Ukraine is the result of this feature. In addition, these missiles have the ability to strike third states through the airspace of their own country or friendly states without entering the airspace of states that they consider to be enemies due to their range advantage.

Although Russian officials, especially Putin, state that this weapon is unstoppable, Western sources comment that the characteristics of the weapon are not extraordinary. Because Westerners, especially by making comments considering the hypersonic cruise missiles developed recently, claim that these weapons do not contain a very superior technology due to the fact that these missiles have a ballistic flight route. It is also claimed that almost all weapon systems studied in the recent period have hypersonic capabilities.

While the study of Western states, especially the US, on hypersonic weapons systems continues, Russia’s inclusion of the Kinzhal missile in its inventory indicates that these claims are not very valid. In fact, it has been stated by Russian officials that about 10 MIG-31 K fighter jets have been refurbished with these missiles.[4] In fact, three of these warplanes have been deployed to the Kaliningrad region.[5] The use of these weapons in Ukraine actually shows how much progress Russia has made on hypersonic missiles, especially Kinzhal. As a Result, the new Cold War that we’re in has already begun to take shape within the framework of hypersonic weapons.

[1] “Russia Says It Has Deployed Kinzhal Hypersonic Missile There Times Ukraine”, Reuters,, (Date of Accession: 01.09.2022).

[2] Systems that can fly faster than five times the speed of sound are called hypersonic.

[3] “Russian Strategic Bomber to Extend Kinzhal Hypersonic Missile’s Range-Source”, Tass,, (Date of Accession: 01.09.2022).

[4] Abraham Ait, “Russia Inducts Its Own Carrrier Killer Missile and Its more Dangerous than Chian’s”, The Diplomat,, (Date of Accession: 01.09.2022).

[5] “MiG-31 Jets with Kinzhal Missiles Go on Combat Alert in Russia’s Westernmost Region”, TASS,, (Date of Accession: 01.09.2022).

Doç. Dr. Şafak OĞUZ
2019 yılında Doçentlik unvanını alan Şafak OĞUZ, Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri’ndeki (TSK) 23 yıllık hizmetinden sonra 2021 yılında emekli olmuştur. Görevi esnasında Birleşmiş Milletler (BM) ve Kuzey Atlantik Antlaşması Örgütü (NATO) bünyesinde de çalışan OĞUZ, Kitle İmha Silahları, Terörizm, Uluslararası Güvenlik, Uluslararası Örgütler ve Barış ve Çatışma Çalışmaları konularında çalışmalar yapmaktadır. OĞUZ, halen Kapadokya Üniversitesi İktisadi, İdari ve Sosyal Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nde öğretim üyeliği görevini sürdürmektedir. İyi derece İngilizce ve Almanca bilmektedir.