How did Russia using the same missiles against Ukraine after purchasing them from Ukraine?

Tu-22 with Kh-22

More than 20 years ago, Ukraine sold a huge batch of missiles to Russia, and now the Russian Army uses them to attack the capital Kyiv and military targets on Ukrainian territory.

As for Ukraine, in the face of recent Russian long-range attacks, it has almost no power to confront. However, Ukraine’s propaganda system believes that Russia has run out of modern weapons and now Russia has to use Soviet-era Kh-22 anti-ship missiles, which have been in service with the Soviet Army since the 1960s.

Ukrainian media said that, because Russia is currently extremely short of modern precision-guided missiles, they must have taken this long-retired missile from storage for use. Ukrainian media also accused the missile of using old Russian technology Kh-22, exploding far from the target, causing damage to civilians.

But not so long ago, Russia’s Kh-22 long-range anti-ship missiles hit Ukrainian land targets, and in fact, before the Russian anti-ship missile attack, the air defense forces Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, failed to intercept five Kh-22 missiles.

So is Russia’s use of Kh-22 really due to their exhausted missile arsenal? In fact, the Kh-22, which was a heavy anti-ship missile developed by the Soviet Union during the last century’s Cold War, was originally designed to arm Tu-22 bombers to attack strike groups. US Navy aircraft carrier.

At that time, the maximum range of the Kh-22 missile was 600 km, using a liquid fuel engine, the maximum speed of the final dive could reach 4.6 Mach, and the warhead weighed 1 tons, enough to create a hole 5 meters in diameter and 12 meters deep in the ground.

With the aim of destroying aircraft carriers, the Kh-22 can sink warships with a tonnage of tens of thousands of tons, with just one hit. In response to threats from the United States and NATO, the Soviet Union produced at least 1,000 Kh-22 missiles, and most of them were deployed in Ukraine, along with Tu-22 strategic bombers.

After Ukraine turned its back on the West, it voluntarily got rid of 423 Kh-22 missiles, including the delivery of 386 missiles to be deducted from the debt in 2000, to repay the historic debt to Russia. . As a result, Russia additionally get 400 Kh-22 missiles on hand.

As for most of Russia’s remaining Kh-22 missiles, it was decommissioned because it was no longer serviceable after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and only a few were kept. But even though lots of missiles delivered by Ukraine were eliminated, but still many missiles upgrade by Russia and kept in storage for use.

A few years after Russia received the Kh-22 missile handed over by Ukraine, the country’s national power increased significantly, thanks to energy exports, and then Russia introduced an improved version of the Kh-22 missile which is the Kh-32 missile, with better performance.

Kh-32 missiles use the hull of the Kh-22, but reduce the warhead to 500 kg and replace the new engine, so the maximum range is increased to about 1,000 km. In order to improve the jamming vulnerability of the Kh-22 missile, the Kh-32 missile has been replaced with a new inertial guidance system, capable of correcting radio commands and terrain tracking.

Tu-22M3 with KH-32
Tu-22M3 with KH-32

The Kh-32 missile is considered to be fully capable of penetrating the US Aegis missile defense system, so it can also achieve good results in hitting the Kiev area, which is mainly protected. by the Ukrainian air defense.

Although one of the six Kh-32 missiles failed to hit the target, that does not confirm that the Ukrainian air defenses shot it down. Because according to calculations and speculations, the Kh-32 missile can withstand the attack of the Phalanx close-in defense gun on the US warship, as well as an AIM-7 Sea Sparrow or 2-3 close-range defensive missile. AIM-9 short-range air-to-air missile interceptor.

So in theory, as long as Ukraine doesn’t use its remaining S-300 missiles for long-range interception; and if they want to intercept Kh-32 missiles, with terminal speeds several times the speed of sound, but only with conventional anti-aircraft guns, the probability of interception will be very low.

In fact, after the Kh-22 missiles were handed over to Russia by Ukraine, the Russian Army also held a number of exercises after 2000, to test the missile’s effectiveness.

In August 2000, the Tu-22M2 aircraft conducted 2 test launches, after launching 3 Kh-22 missiles, with normal operation results; in which 2 hit the barge target and 1 was shot down by a Su-27, which was on an interception training mission.

However, during the Kh-22 launch test at the Chita training ground in September 2002, the Kh-22 missile crashed in Mongolia due to a malfunction in the navigation system and had to pay millions of dollars in compensation. Another Kh-22 also landed in Kazakhstan, in another test.

But the fact that Russia is currently using Kh-22 missiles to attack Ukrainian ground targets is most likely due to a somewhat limited long-range strike arsenal, as the number of advanced missiles has begun to be depleted.

But in any case, with a huge arsenal left from the Soviet era, Russia still has plenty of missiles like the Kh-22 and can still be used with minor upgrades, completely within its capabilities.

Therefore, it is naive to think that Russia no longer has the ability to strike long-range precision strikes and does not have enough power to strike back. After all, compared to Russia, Ukraine and NATO are scarcer in terms of long-range strike weapons.

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