Russia claims to use a hypersonic missile

WASHINGTON — Russia has fired dozens of guided missiles into Ukraine, but on Saturday claimed for the first time that it launched one ca...


WASHINGTON — Russia has fired dozens of guided missiles into Ukraine, but on Saturday claimed for the first time that it launched one capable of hypersonic speed in an attack on an ammunition dump in western Ukraine. The report could not be independently verified, but if true, it could be the first use of a hypersonic weapon in combat.

Hypersonics, generally defined as weapons capable of flying at speeds greater than Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, are at the center of an arms race between the United States, Russia and China.

The United States has continued development of this type of weapon since the early 2000s, focusing on two different variants, according to a report released Thursday by the Congressional Research Service.

The first is a ‘hypersonic glide vehicle’ which is launched from a rocket then separates before gliding towards a target, and the second is a faster version of a cruise missile, which could be launched by rockets. submarines, ships, aircraft and land vehicles, the report said. The Pentagon has requested $3.8 billion for hypersonic research in fiscal year 2022.

The report notes that the Department of Defense has shown growing interest in the development of these weapons in part because of progress made by Russia and China. These countries “have a number of hypersonic weapons programs and likely have fielded operational hypersonic vehicles – potentially armed with nuclear warheads,” according to the report.

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said hypersonic missiles, called Kinzhals, destroyed the underground warehouse storing Ukrainian missiles and aviation ammunition in the western region of Ivano-Frankivsk in Ukraine.

Yuriy Ignat, a Ukrainian military spokesman, confirmed on Saturday that Russian forces struck an underground warehouse in western Ukraine, but said the type of missile involved “is yet to be determined”.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond Saturday morning to a request for comment on Russia’s assertion.

At recent briefings at the Pentagon, defense officials declined to comment on reports that Russian forces have used weapons such as cluster munitions — which open in the air and spread small bombs — and thermobaric explosives, which create more powerful and longer lasting blast waves than traditional high explosives.

But they offered a tally of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles fired by Russian forces. On Wednesday, a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the war in Ukraine, said Russian troops had launched more than 1,080 missiles since the war began on 24 February.

Ivan Nechepurenko and Valerie Hopkins contributed report.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Russia claims to use a hypersonic missile
Russia claims to use a hypersonic missile
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