Russia’s MiG-31 long-range interceptor fighter is likely to be equipped with a new generation attack missile that is even more powerful than the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (Dagger).
The Russian Aerospace Forces’ MiG-31 Foxhound long-range interceptor was recently seen carrying a very fancy missile, never seen before.
Based on images from the first test, there are many predictions that this is an anti-satellite missile recovered by Russia from the Soviet-era 79M6 missile of the Ishim program.
Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties, the project to build an anti-satellite weapon Ishim with the 79M6 missile was canceled before entering the initial testing phase, even though the Soviet Union then switched converted two MiG-31Ds as launchers.
However, in 2009, General Alexander Nikolayevich Zelin – Commander of the Russian Air Force confirmed that they were reviving a new space weapons program based on the 79M6 missile on the MiG-31D interceptor fighter platform.
Some unnamed sources even said that, in the period 2009-2010, the Russian military allocated funds for the program and the project may have been secretly restarted in 2012 and the finished product is the result. The mysterious rocket mentioned above.
However, there is another bold statement, which is that this missile is not a 79M6 anti-satellite weapon but is actually an air-launched medium-range ballistic missile.
Considering the fact that when Russia announced its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the construction of a new type of air-to-surface ballistic missile to reach beyond the range of 2,000 km of Kh- 47M2 Kinzhal is also reasonable.
In addition, Russia is currently deploying a squadron of MiG-31K fighters that have capabilities to carry heavy missiles, like Kinzhal hypersonic missile, so the conditions for evaluating new weapons testing at this time are favorable than in the Soviet era.
According to experts, if this is not an anti-satellite missile but really a medium-range air-to-surface ballistic missile, it can reach a range of more than 5,000 km, which is more than twice as much as Kh-47M2 Kinzhal .
But to achieve this combat range, it is almost certain that the speed of the missile will not be as high as Mach 10 like the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal but must be lowered to about half to reduce fuel consumption.
In addition, the launch conditions of the new missile are probably not as complicated as when the MiG-31K fighter deployed Kh-47M2, which is to maintain an altitude of 20 km and the speed to be kept at Mach 2.
While Russia has not made an official statement about these speculations, according to some Russian news site, it is possible that this weapon is not yet complete, not that they avoid “raising” the West.
Another opinion that should also be considered is that the mysterious missile above is the new generation supersonic cruise missile Kh-95 that has just been revealed by Russian military officials.
If so, the new weapon will be equipped for tactical fighters, not just strategic bombers as originally speculated.[td_smart_list_end]