Slower than the speed of sound - more dangerous than “Dagger”: Russian X-69 missile scares the West
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Slower than the speed of sound - more dangerous than “Dagger”: Russian X-69 missile scares the West

Slower than the speed of sound - more dangerous than “Dagger”: Russian X-69 missile scares the West

The Russian military has begun using a new type of subsonic air-to-surface cruise missile called the Kh-69, which military analysts say poses a serious threat to Ukraine and NATO countries. According to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), it was the X-69 missile that was used to strike the Trypillya thermal power plant near Kyiv, as a result of which a transformer, turbines and generators were destroyed.

Capabilities of the X-69 missile

Western military experts estimate the flight speed of the Kh-69 missile at 1000 km/h, which makes it less fast than the Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missile, but it is capable of carrying a warhead weighing up to 350 kg and flying at low altitude, making it almost invisible to air defense systems. In addition, the missile has an impressive flight range of up to 400 km, which exceeds the previously assumed range of 300 km and the range of the latest version of its predecessor, the Kh-59MK2, of 200 km.

Rocket X-69

Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin

A special feature of the Kh-69 missile is its ability to be launched from Su-34 and Su-35 tactical aircraft, which are more common than the Tu-95MS strategic bombers and MiG-31K interceptors typically used for missile strikes. This means that Russia can produce and use Kh-69 missiles in greater numbers than Kinzhal missiles, and with a greater variety of launch vehicles.

X-69 - air defense fighter

One of the main problems for Ukraine and NATO countries is that the Kh-69 missile is very difficult to detect by air defense systems, since it is only able to maintain an altitude of about 20 meters while traveling to the target. In addition, cruise missiles can change direction several times, making it extremely difficult to predict the target of an attack. The X-69's external shapes are also believed to provide some degree of radar signature reduction.

Su-57 fighter with Kh-69 missiles

The new missile has some design differences from the Kh-59MK2, such as a box-shaped fuselage with a trapezoidal cross-section, adapted for access to the Su-57 weapons bay, and a pair of wings that fold out after launch on the top of the missile body.

X-69 scares the West

Russia's use of the new X-69 missile greatly frightens the West, and has prompted calls in the West to increase arms support for Ukraine. In particular, the United States and Germany are called upon to provide Ukraine with interceptor missiles for the Patriot air defense system and the Taurus missile, respectively. Germany recently announced its intention to supply Ukraine with another Patriot system to strengthen its air defense following recent Russian airstrikes.

Range of the Kh-69 missile

However, the use of the latest Russian Kh-69 missile shows that even the Patriot system cannot cope with it, and this makes it more dangerous than the Kinzhal hypersonic missile.

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