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Russia should deploy MiG-31 squadrons with Kinzhal missiles in Black Sea region — expert

July 20, 2018, 1:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A squadron (between 12 and 16 aircraft) of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles entered combat duty in the Caspian Sea region in April

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MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles

MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles

© Sergey Bobylyov/TASS

MOSCOW, July 20. /TASS/. Squadrons of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles should enter combat duty in the Black Sea region and at other Russian fleets and flotillas, said Russian military expert Viktor Murakhovsky, the editor-in-chief of the Arsenal Otechestva magazine.

Earlier in the day, the Russian Defense Ministry revealed fresh information about its advanced weaponry projects. According to the ministry, Russia’s advanced Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has completed pop-up trials and is about to begin flight tests. Besides, Russia is preparing tests of prototypes of the upgraded nuclear-powered Burevestnik cruise missile with an unlimited range and of the Poseidon unmanned underwater drone. The Avangard missile complex with a completely new gliding maneuverable warhead and the Peresvet laser complexes are already being supplied to the troops.

Besides, a squadron (between 12 and 16 aircraft) of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles entered combat duty in the Caspian Sea region in April.

"I think at least one squadron of those complexes should be deployed at any fleet, in other words - at all regions where we have fleets and flotillas. We need to deploy them in the regions of the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Northern Fleet. The Pacific region also should not be forgotten," Murakhovsky said.

He said that such systems can become a "good instrument" against not only vessels equipped with high-precision weapons, but also for countering carrier attack groups.

"We know how expensive a carrier attack group can be. By employing this asymmetric method, which is unbelievably cheap in comparison with building a carrier attack group, we can neutralize this threat almost completely," the expert said.


Assymetric response

Speaking in general about Russia’s new defense projects, first unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, Murakhovsky described them as Russia’s asymmetric response to present-day military threats.

"This is an asymmetric response, in which new classes of weapons are created, instead of new types within the framework of the existing systems. Other states are not expected to have anything of this kind [in the near future]," he said.

The expert described this response as "quite an efficient one, all the more so because it requires no additional investment - all the works are being carried out within the framework of the state procurement program."

He added that unlike the Soviet Union, Russia avoids being dragged into a direct arms race and searches for cutting-edge solutions instead of simply increasing the number of weapons.

"The development of counter-weapons to those arms [may be possible] in distant future, but it does not mean that they can be created at all," Murakhovsky added.


Burevestnik trials

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russia was preparing to test upgraded test prototypes of the nuclear-powered Burevestnik cruise missile with an unlimited range.

According to the expert, it is highly likely that the prototype of the missile "has already made a flight."

"Clearly, it was something like the pop-up trials of Sarmat - a launch without the nuclear-powered engine, in other words, with an ordinary missile booster, conducted in order to assess the possibility of a launch, aerodynamics and the operability of the entire system in general," the expert said.

Commenting on the Poseidon project to create an unmanned underwater craft, the expert said that, apparently, separate systems of it have been successfully tested. "Right now, engineers need to design the entire layout, build a model and start testing the whole craft," he said.

When asked about capacities of the Peresvet laser complexes, which have already entered duty with Russia’s Aerospace Forces, the expert said that, in his opinion, the system is capable of "countering optronic systems, including those installed on satellites, planes and drones." "Possibly, at shorter ranges, it is even capable of striking drones and cruise missiles," Murakhovsky added.

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