Hypersonic "Dagger" - the first swallow of new wars

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Hypersonic "Dagger" - the first swallow of new wars
Hypersonic "Dagger" - the first swallow of new wars

In 2018, an impressive part of the President's message to the Federal Assembly was devoted to the latest Russian superweapons. Putin's speech was a global presentation of the military power of our army and the successes of defense science and industry. The samples of weapons, from which the Supreme Commander-in-Chief removed the "top secret" stamp, are superior to their Western counterparts, and in some places they do not have them at all. They are capable of drastically changing the balance of power on the planet. First of all, we are talking about the Kh-47M2 "Dagger" hypersonic aircraft-missile system.

MiG-31 carries the Kh-47M2 "Dagger"

For everyone who didn't believe

Already ten days after the president's speech, footage of successful tests was released. They are also intended for those who may have doubted the words of the Russian leader. The video clearly shows how the MiG-31 fighter-interceptor performs a combat training launch of the "Dagger" missile, which successfully hits a given target. Summing up the results of the tests, the Ministry of Defense noted: the launch was carried out normally, during the exercises, the tactical and technical characteristics and time indicators of the aviation missile system were confirmed.

At the same time, the missile system itself has been on experimental combat duty at the airfields of the Southern Military District since December 2017. Today, the personnel of the aviation units are practicing the skills of its combat use. Since the beginning of 2018 alone, more than 250 training flights have been performed to test the operation of the complex.


Potential targets

The main targets of the hypersonic complex are the ships of a potential enemy: aircraft carriers, frigates, cruisers and destroyers. The missile has a long flight range, which saves its carrier aircraft from the need to enter the zone of foreign air defense and anti-missile defense. The missile itself, possessing low radar signature, high flight speed and the ability to maneuver, remains inaccessible to them and makes it difficult to intercept.

The warhead of the complex develops a speed of Mach 10, that is, it is ten times faster than the speed of sound. Strikes can be applied to both land and sea targets, both stationary and moving, and the missile itself can be equipped with both nuclear and non-nuclear warheads.

The MiG-31, which has been in service since 1981, was chosen as the carrier aircraft. It is a long-range, high-altitude, all-weather interceptor fighter. This choice is not accidental. First, the MiG-31 today is the fastest aircraft in service with the Russian Aerospace Forces. Secondly, it has a long flight range. As for the dimensions of the rocket, it will not fit "under the belly" of every aircraft. The modernization of the MiG-31 went in parallel with the development of the rocket. In the future, the latest Russian fifth-generation fighter Su-57 will also be used.


A separate decisive quality is the practical ceiling of the MiG-31, which is up to 20 thousand meters. Specially modernized for launching a rocket, the fighter actually serves as its first stage, creating an initial acceleration of Mach 2.5, and already a solid-propellant rocket engine (solid propellant rocket engine) accelerates the warhead to hypersonic speed in a matter of seconds. The launch is carried out outside the dense layers of the atmosphere, at an altitude of 12 to 15 thousand meters above the Earth.A rocket flight at this height, practically on the edge of the stratosphere, avoids significant air resistance. Simultaneously, the "Dagger" performs evasive maneuvers in all segments of the flight path.

Moreover, the new missile is not a cruise missile. Experts call it "aeroballistic". The flight path is maintained at a high speed. At the same time, it maneuvers with the help of aerodynamic rudders, bypassing all dangerous zones and not allowing missile defense systems to calculate the trajectory of its flight. Thus, the "Dagger" has a significant advantage both over conventional cruise missiles, flying at a transonic speed of about 1150 km / h, and over ballistic missiles, which receive acceleration only at the start, whose trajectory is easily calculated by means of anti-missile defense.

The "Dagger" complex can provide strikes against targets at a distance of more than 2 thousand kilometers. This means that in the event of possible aggression against Russia, all targets in the European theater of operations will be in the zone of possible destruction of the complex. Taking into account the range of the MiG-31 and the range of the missile itself, the entire North Atlantic falls into the coverage area of ​​the complex - right up to the north of Greenland, where the American Thule airbase is located. "Dagger" significantly reduces the effectiveness of the use of aircraft carriers of the US Navy. As soon as they approach the distance necessary for the operation of their aircraft, the "floating airfields" fall under the sight of the "Dagger".


The presence of such weapons in Russia helps to deter potential enemies of the country from rash actions and prevents possible aggression. "Dagger" is able to overcome all existing and even planned to create an anti-missile defense system. Military aggression against Russia is becoming too expensive and adventurous. Today, no one dares to attack the country, covering their rear with the "leaky umbrella" of ineffective missile defense.

Protective sphere

According to experts, the warhead of the complex is a deep modernization of the 9M723 single-stage solid-propellant missile of the Iskander ground-based operational-tactical complex. Its main purpose is to destroy enemy air defense and missile defense systems, as well as the most important objects covered by them. Perhaps, in itself, according to Western analysts, it is the most dangerous weapon of the Russian army, along with such air defense systems as the S-400, and coastal anti-ship complexes of the Bastion class. Together they form the backbone of Russia's defense concept, known abroad as the Anti-Access / Area Denial (A2 / AD), and create a “defense sphere” into which NATO forces cannot penetrate without the risk of unacceptable damage. The Dagger air-missile system significantly expands this area.


The news of the deployment of Iskander missile systems in the Kaliningrad region at one time caused an almost panic reaction in the West. After all, this is a significant deterrent. True, the Iskanders have one drawback - the missile's range does not exceed 400 kilometers. However, this is not so much a technical limitation as an intentional one. It is stipulated by the Treaty on the Limitation of the Placement of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles in Europe. But the same missile, only aircraft-based, does not fall under these rules.

Talking about some kind of trick and an attempt to bypass the terms of agreements with our partners is not worth it. As you know, in 2002, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems. According to it, each side, then the USSR and the United States, pledged to have no more than two missile defense systems. One is around the capital, the other is in the area where ICBM launchers are concentrated.In each protected area with a radius of 150 kilometers, no more than 100 launching stationary anti-missile systems could be deployed. This was in line with the doctrine of mutual assured destruction. Neither side would have risked attacking first if it understood that it would be destroyed in retaliation. Since 1972, the treaty has served as a guarantor of the balance of power. It was after the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the agreement that the deployment of elements of the American missile defense system began in Europe and its approach to the borders of Russia. And although, according to the assurances of the West, the European missile defense system is not directed against our country, the presence of such an “umbrella” over Russia gave undeniable advantages.

Western reaction in words and deeds

The United States and, of course, China, like us, are working on the creation of hypersonic weapons. However, our defense industry was able to do this faster than the rest. And foreign special services missed both the process of creating such weapons and testing them. In March this year, during a meeting of the board of the Federal Security Service, Vladimir Putin personally thanked the employees of the department for effective counterintelligence cover for projects to develop new types of weapons, including the Kinzhal air missile system.

Commenting on the information about the appearance of new weapons in Russia, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said that the United States would find an adequate answer to this. But today there are no analogues to the "Dagger" complex in the United States. The Americans plan to test their hypersonic missile only next year. So now Russia has not only pulled ahead and strengthened national security, but has also restored the balance of power that had been disturbed earlier.


However, if there is no way to do it, then you can play with the wording. For example, the American military expert Dave Majumdar said that the Dagger missile is not hypersonic, since it does not use a ramjet engine. Although he admitted that the "Dagger" accelerates to hypersonic speeds and Russia is currently the only country that possesses such a weapon.

Let's remind, the rocket of the "Dagger" complex is accelerated by a solid-propellant rocket engine. But the ramjet hypersonic jet engine will receive another new aviation hypersonic missile, the development of which is planned to be completed by 2020. Not long left. As for whether the Dagger is a hypersonic weapon or not, the answer is simple.

Anything that can travel at speeds above Mach 5 moves at hypersonic speed. The missile of the "Dagger" complex accelerates to Mach 10, therefore, it is a hypersonic missile. Tests have shown that the complex is capable of effectively performing the assigned tasks and hitting the assigned targets. So, this is definitely a hypersonic weapon.

Another thing is that the development of hypersonic weapons is going in several directions. These are hypersonic drones, such as the SR-72 developed by Lockheed Martin, and gliders - hypersonic gliding vehicles like Avangard - and the X-51A Waverider hypersonic cruise missile being developed in the USA with a hypersonic ramjet engine X-51A Waverider, and its domestic counterparts. The Dagger missile system is just the first in a series of new hypersonic weapons that will change the way war is waged.

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