New Russian Hypersonic Missile ‘Will Change the Rules of the Game’

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Russia has been developing a new generation of weapons aimed at fulfilling Russia’s chiefly defense oriented military doctrine.

The 40N6 Russian ground-to-air missile with a hypersonic speed of Mach 14 (about 17,000 km/h) will change the rules of the game for the Russian Armed Forces and its allies, writes the US Military Watch edition.

“The 40N6 missile makes use of a trajectory unique for surface to air munitions, climbing to altitudes as high as 30km before making a sharp descent. The platform uses an active radar homing head to climb to a designated altitude before switching to search and destroy mode. This is key to allowing the missile to strike low altitude targets at extreme ranges well below the radio horizon. The missile can reportedly strike targets operating at altitudes as low as 5 kilometres – posing a lethal threat not only to fixed wing combat jets, but also to transport and combat helicopters,” the portal explains.

In total, the Russian Aerospace Force will receive in service more than 1 thousand units of these missiles by the year 2027, which will arm the S-400 air defense complexes.

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However, such countries as Turkey, Algeria, Belarus, India and China have already expressed a desire to acquire them. In addition, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Morocco are expected to join the list of buyers.

As the article published in the US edition explains, “the new missile will be a game changer in a number of theatres, including Europe, the Taiwan Strait, Kashmir, the Doklam plateau and potentially North Africa and the Persian Gulf as well.

“While the S-400 has proven a highly popular export, despite extensive measures taken by the United States to limit its sales, Russia is reportedly offering a significantly less costly variant of the system which lacks the 40N6 to its defence clients. Such a system would retain maximum range of 250km using the 48N6E3, and though this missile lacks the over the horizon strike capabilities, speed or altitude of the 40N6 it retains formidable precision, advanced anti stealth capabilities and a range which far surpasses that of any Western anti aircraft missile system currently in service,” the article explains.

“Despite the advanced capabilities of the 48N6E3, the 40N6 remains well above and beyond any competition – and modern Russian long range air defence platforms deployed without such systems will be considerably more limited in their versatility and their ability to threaten hostile aircraft at extreme ranges,” it concludes.

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