Is Russia’s Kh-101 stealth missile really ‘invincible’?

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According to a statement from Russian military officials, the Kh-101 stealth missile is really “invincible”, having achieved many great victories on the Ukrainian battlefield. In the opposite direction, Ukraine claims to have intercepted and shot down a number of missiles of this type, but has not provided evidence.

In the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War, the Kh-101 stealth missile developed by the Raduga Design Bureau with advanced technology to reduce radar reflections according to the announcement had a very impressive performance on the battlefield.

According to news reports, this weapon once again proved its usefulness and “invincibility” against Ukrainian Air Defense Systems on September 14, when it hit the Karachunovskoye reservoir dam on the Ingulets River.

The Kh-101 stealth missile launched from the Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bomber over the Caspian Sea were not detected by the Ukrainian Intelligence and NATO countries, the air strike warning was only issued after the missile hit the target.

The design characteristics of this high-precision air-to-surface missile allow it to overcome even the most advanced and powerful modern enemy anti-aircraft missile systems, even at close range.

The Air-launched Kh-101 missile combined with the Kalibr missile fired from warships, and the Iskander Ballistic Missile deployed on mobile platforms launcher, forms a powerful trio of the Russian Army in destroying targets on the Ukrainian Soil.

The Kh-101 stealth missile is a completely new type of Russian long-range missile which uses a conventional warhead, this missile was developed by the Raduga Design Bureau between 1995 and 2013.

Externally, the Kh-101 stealth missile has some similarities with a US AGM-158 JASSM air-launched cruise missile, though the Russian missile has significantly longer range. The Kh-101 is carried by modernized Tu-160M long-range strategic bombers (12 missiles internally) and Tu-95MSM strategic bombers (6 missiles internally and 8 missiles externally).

The Kh-101 is armed with conventional warhead and has a range of 3000 km. Depending on the version the missile weights 2200-2400 kg and carries a 400-450 kg warhead. Most likely that some types of warheads are available, including high explosive, penetration high explosive, and submunitions warhead. There is also a similar Kh-102 missile with a 20 kT thermonuclear warhead.

This cruise missile is equipped with an electro-optical system for correcting the flight trajectory and with a TV guidance system for terminal guidance. The Kh-101 is estimated to be accurate within 10-20 meter CEP. Some sources report that this missile has a CEP of just 5 meters. Such accuracy is sufficient to hit infrastructure targets. The missile is re-targetable so it can be used to engage moving targets. It has a variable flight profile and travels at altitudes ranging from 30 to 10000 meters.

During flight the engine drops below the missile. Also there are pop-out wings for cruising efficiency. This missile has reduced radar cross-section and is more stealthier than the Kh-55. This feature makes it harder to detect and destroy while the missile in on the way to its target.

It is not necessary for Tu-160 and Tu-95MS strategic bombers to approach Ukraine Airspace to strike targets using this advanced missile. After taking off from airfields, these bombers immediately launch missiles towards their targets.

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