Russia’s Game-Changing Weapons That Were Not Mentioned In Putin’s Speech

Saturday, March 31, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Arkady Savitsky via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
Sat, 03/31/2018

Not all of Russia’s game-changing weapons were mentioned in the president’s landmark speech that the mainstream media keep writing so much about. The president’s address simply could not include all the numerous breakthroughs in military technology Russia has achieved recently.

Some cutting-edge systems exist but are not yet operational. A few are already part of the Russian arsenal, although in rather small numbers. But that’s just a start. Many achievements have flown under the media’s radar and deserve more exposure. The information available from public sources is worth discussing to get an idea of where things seem to be headed.

The military added Kh-32 air-to-surface missiles in 2016 to advance the operational capabilities of the Tu-22M3 Backfire. The weapon was created on the basis of radical updates to the Kh-22. After being launched, the Kh-32 climbs up to the stratosphere, reaching an altitude of 40 km (130,000 ft) for the midcourse phase of its flight. As it nears its target, it goes into a steep dive. The attack is too fast and the missile too maneuverable for the enemy to mount an air defense.

The approach can be flown at an altitude as low as five m, going undetected by a ship’s defense systems until a distance of about 10 km. This leaves a reaction window of roughly 10 seconds before this extremely agile target is hit. It doesn’t have a chance. This deadly weapon is a threat to any ground target.

The weapon boasts an inertial navigation system and a seeker head. It needs no navigation satellites for guidance and is impossible to jam. Its primary mission is to knock out aircraft carriers and large surface ships, as well as ground-based assets.

The Kh-32 has a range of roughly 1,000 km (620 mi) and a speed of over 5,400 kilometers per hour (1,500 meters per second). Its 500-kilogram (1,102 lb.) warhead can be either nuclear or conventional.

The US doesn’t have anything comparable to the Kh-32, nor does it have an effective system to protect its assets from it. Even the speed and altitude of the famous Aegis (SM-6) are useless against this new weapon. The Kh-32 does not breach the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, as its trajectory does not envisage going into orbit. And this is not the only breakthrough worth talking about.

On March 15, Russian Defense Chief Sergey Shoigu made quite a splash when he claimed that mass production of combat robots would begin this year. The military had 160 unmanned aerial drones a few years ago, but today operates about 1,800 of them. The trials of the robots designed for land operations are almost complete. Robotic mine-clearing vehicles have also been successfully developed.

Combat, transport, and artillery-reconnaissance variants of the Nerekhta robot exist. The system consists of a compact, light-tracked chassis, and a hull for mounting special equipment. It is used to take on armored weapons. The robot can also be used for transportation and reconnaissance. The Nerekhta can operate alongside drones. The suite of weapons can include a Kord or Kalashnikov machine gun, an AG-30M automatic grenade launcher and an anti-tank missile system.

The biomorphic (four-legged) 400-kg Lynx robot will be equipped with a machine gun and anti-tank guided missiles, and can operate in urban and industrial areas, on asphalt, marble, wood, sand, and unpaved roads. Almost no terrain would be off-limits, even ice, grass, snow, or shallow waters. The Lynx can travel up to 15 km/h on flat terrain, and 10 km/h on uneven surfaces.

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