Russia said it used a new hypersonic missile in a strike against Ukraine on Friday, March 18, destroying a Ukrainian weapons storage facility, according to The Hill.
The Russian Defense Department on Saturday showed a video on Twitter of the moment of impact and apparent destruction of a Ukrainian subway storage facility in the village of Deliatyn, Ivano-Frankivsk region, in the west of the country.
The hypersonic missile used is the so-called Kinzhal (“Dagger” in Russian), and as indicated by Russian officials, it is the first time it has been employed.
“The Kinzhal aviation missile system with hypersonic aeroballistic missiles destroyed a large underground warehouse containing missiles and aviation ammunition in the village of Deliatyn in the Ivano-Frankivsk region,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Saturday.
Russia had tested its first hypersonic missile last year. Such missiles are weapons designed to fly at speeds in excess of five times the speed of sound, that is approximately 6100 km per hour.
Because of the speed and the ability to change direction toward its target, it makes the possibility of tracking and shooting it down very difficult.
“This is a missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads and is believed to be undetectable by western air defence systems,” said an investigative journalist, Dorsa Jabbari of Al Jazeera media, speaking from Moscow. “Therefore it is being called an unstoppable ballistic missile.”
In August last year, China reportedly successfully launched a hypersonic weapons test using a Great March rocket as a booster, according to the Financial Times, although China’s Foreign Ministry denied it was a weapons test and claimed through a spokesman that it was a reusable spacecraft test.
The United States, as well as Russia, China and North Korea, have been developing hypersonic weapons, some of which are launched into space, in search of long-range flight and maneuverability, according to Space.