The Russian Defense Ministry has decided to develop a new multipurpose long-range interception missile system which will even be capable of intercepting hypersonic weapons, Izvestia reports, citing sources in the ministry.
The news agency writes that, at the military department’s request, theoretical work has already been done on a super long-range air-to-air missile with a splitting warhead, and work is currently underway to determine the characteristics and composition of the prospective system. One of the candidates that is being considered is the future intermediate-range K-77M aircraft missile (as a warhead).
The plan is for an aircraft to fire a long-range “special munition” with several air-to-air missiles in the direction of the target. At a certain point, the munition will launch the separate missiles, which will then approach and attack the target, even if it is hypersonic. The use of several missiles, instead one, is designed to improve the likelihood of destroying the target. The super long range of the munitions will enlarge the weapon’s effective lethal range.
According to the available information, Russia is likely to use MiG-31BM interceptor aircraft to carry the new missile system. At a later stage, these will replaced by the future MiG-41 or other fighters.
At present, the project could seem far-fetched or lacking in prospects. However, Russia already has hypersonic weapons, and other countries will acquire them soon. The Russian mass media seems confident that, since Russia was capable of developing a hypersonic weapon, it will also able to develop protection against such weapons, although this may not take the currently envisaged form.