Hypersonic Hype? Russia’s Kinzhal Missiles and The Lessons For Air Defense

May 24, 2023

Modern War Institute at West Point:

The May 4 interception of a Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missile by one of Ukraine’s Patriot air defense systems in Kyiv has caused a significant stir in the international missile defense community. The ensuing saturation attack against Kyiv on May 16, which according to Russian sources was specifically aimed at knocking out a Patriot system, has only further underscored the significance of advanced missile defense systems in today’s evolving security landscape. This dramatic first-ever engagement between modern Western air defense systems and the hypersonic weapons specifically designed to defeat them was marked by contrails streaking the skies over Ukraine, literally and figurately underlining the significance of this latest technological revolution.

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