Air raid alert sounds in Ukraine as multiple Kinzhal-carrier MiG-31Ks take flight

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An air raid alert was briefly triggered all over Ukraine after several MiG-31K aircraft, capable of carrying Kh-47M2 ‘Kinzhal’ hypersonic missiles, were observed taking off in Russia.  

At 11:30 local time, at least seven Russian Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31K attack aircraft took off from the Savasleyka air base, located in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast.  

The alerts were then progressively lifted by all regions as the MiG-31K flew away from their expected launch zones, according to @war_monitor, the Telegram channel monitoring Russian aircraft movements. 

The MiG-31K is a modified MiG-31BM variant capable of launching the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile.  

With between 10 and 12 aircraft modified before the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the launch of seven of them represents a significant display of force, raising concerns about an impending bombing mission. 

What is the Kh-47M2 ‘Kinzhal’ hypersonic missile? 

Russia advertises the ‘Kinzhal’ as an air-launched hypersonic missile that can be carried by the Tu-22M bomber or the MiG-31K attack aircraft. 

According to official Russian sources, it has a top speed of either Mach 10 or Mach 12 (10 or 12 times the speed of sound). The ‘Kinzhal’ is likely based on the first stage of the Iskander, with the addition of a booster.  

Though not much is known about the warhead contents of the ‘Kinzhal, the Iskander is reported to carry a high-explosive conventional or thermonuclear weapon warhead weighing between 480 and 700 kilograms (1,060 and 1,540 pounds). 

During an intense missile attack on the morning of May 16, 2023, at least six Kh-47M2 hypersonic missiles were launched from MiG-31K fighters. 

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