A 40-Year-Old US Missile System Just Destroyed Putin’s Ultimate Weapon
But all is not as it seems.
While Russia is armed to the teeth with Soviet-era nuclear weapons, they haven’t been Putin’s trump card when it comes to his idiotic invasion of Ukraine. After all, there is very little point in nuking a place you want to eventually control, and doing so would spark World War III with massive Western retaliation. Instead, Putin has devastated key areas deep in Ukrainian territory with deadly hypersonic missiles capable of evading all known defence systems. These “unstoppable” missiles are at the forefront of military technology, as even the US has no way of defending against them. At least, that’s what we thought. You see, a US-supplied Patriot missile defence system recently shot a Russian hypersonic missile out of the sky over Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. So, is Putin’s ultimate weapon a dud? Or is something else afoot?
Five years ago, Putin unveiled Russia’s fleet of hypersonic missiles. There were several models, but the one we are concerned with is the Kinzhal missile, which translates to “daggers” in Russian. This 4.3-tonne, 7.2-metre-long rocket-propelled missile can travel at Mach 10, with some reports even claiming it can go at Mach 13 for up to 2,000 km. This makes it literally twice as fast as Western missiles. But the Kinzhal is more than just raw speed. Unlike any other hypersonic missile, it can be manoeuvred towards an intended target and potentially evade air defences sent to stop it. At these insane speeds, the air in front of the missile turns into plasma, which absorbs radio waves. This makes it incredibly hard for air defences to track it, as the missiles are nearly invisible on radar.
When talking about the Kinzhal in March 2022, US President Joe Biden stated, "It’s almost impossible to stop it,” and that “There’s a reason they’re using it.” The use of the Kinzhal in Ukraine has terrified some personnel in the US military, as it has demonstrated just how unstoppable these missiles are. In fact, America’s top nuclear commander recently stated that even the United States currently has no reliable defence against these hypersonic missiles.
At least, that’s what we thought.
A few days ago, Ukraine claimed that a US-supplied Patriot surface-to-air defence system, which first went into military service in 1981, shot down a Kinzhal above Kyiv. Many shrugged this statement off as either a misidentification of the missile debris or as a piece of potential propaganda. But the Pentagon has since come forward and confirmed that this claim was indeed true, and more evidence, such as photos of the debris, has surfaced.
So, it seems Putin’s invisible missiles aren’t as good as we thought. But how did a Patriot take down a Kinzhal?
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