Hypersonic missiles have never been used in war before. So far, the Russian Defense Ministry claims.
For more than three weeks, Russian soldiers struggled to contain the Ukrainian resistance. Ukrainian cities besieged and bombed. But the population is resisting a militarily stronger and more advanced attacker.
Now Russia may have resorted to a new weapon. On Friday, a so-called hypersonic missile was fired at an underground weapons depot in Delatin in western Ukraine.
The village is located only 65 kilometers from Romania, a NATO country.
Russia, China, and North Korea have invested heavily in the past two years in developing hypersonic missiles. These are rockets that move at five times the speed of sound. Thus, they can bypass the state’s defense systems.
The warehouse that was attacked on Saturday is said to have contained missiles and ammunition. This was stated by a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, in a meeting with journalists, Saturday, according to the Russian Interfax news agency. Reuters.
He claimed it was a Kinzhal (which means dagger in Russian) missile that was used. The missile is launched from combat aircraft and moves ten times faster than the speed of sound.
Independent sources did not confirm this claim.
In that case, it would be the first time a hypersonic weapon had been used in a war. So far they have only been tested. It was surprising that it is used now, and in Ukraine. This is said Tom Rosth, principal of the School of Staff at the Norwegian Defense College.
He described the missile as a “large scale” of the war that has raged in Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24.
– This is a weapon intended for conflict with the United States. It can come quickly and unnoticed and have an enormous impact, says Rosth.
He says that hypersonic weapons have a deterrent effect. This is especially the case because they could be equipped with nuclear warheads.
– It could mean two things. Either Russia is starting to run out of precision weapons, or it’s a sign that it has devastating weapons systems, says Rosth.
– He adds that it indicates superiority.
Threat in the North
The development of hypersonic weapons has accelerated since 2018. That was when Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a number of new hypersonic weapon systems, including the Kinzhal.
Two years later, the former Norwegian intelligence chief, Lieutenant-General Morten Haga Lundy, warned of the newly developed weapon in his annual address at the Oslo Military Assembly.
“Our calculations show that if this missile was launched from a plane over Kula, the warning time, given that we detected the activity, would be about 40 minutes from leaving the plane to impacting the missile on a target in Norway,” Lundy said. in the speech.
E-Service: This is a growing threat to Norway at the moment
To date, Russia and China have taken the lead in developing hypersonic missiles. North Korea also claims to have conducted tests.
However, the United States, which has the largest and most advanced defense in the world, was left far behind. Earlier in March, it became clear that the United States would not be able to purchase the missile again this year, the defense website reported. defense break.
But it’s not just speed that makes countries like Russia, China and North Korea nearly compete to develop technology.
Compared to other missiles, hypersonic missiles are easier to maneuver after launch. It also flies close to the surface of the earth.
“The combined characteristics of high speed, low altitude and maneuverability challenge current defences.” The American Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) writes in Transfer From February this year.
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