Russia boosts Kh-101 cruise missile for more precise strikes in Ukraine

Debris of downed Kh-101 in Khmelnytskyi
Debris of downed Kh-101 in Khmelnytskyi

Russia has improved the performance of its main air-launched cruise missile Kh-101 by fielding it with a second warhead. missile with a new warhead, stated British Defense Ministry intelligence report on X on May 8.

Intelligence indicates that the Russian Airspace Forces sought to adapt its systems and tactics during the war with Ukraine in order to:

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  • enhance survivability, responding to numerous missile interceptions by Ukrainian air defense systems;

  • expand capabilities for more impactful targeting;

  • utilize older missiles, conserving more modern systems depleted in the war's initial stages.

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The recent modification likely halved the range of the Kh-101 missile, as the Russian RAF doesn't require maximum range to target all of Ukraine, according to a report. Meanwhile, the new warhead is designed to increase fragmentation damage to targets, potentially enhancing the system's effectiveness against unprotected targets.

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In January, Vadym Skibitskyi, deputy head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry (HUR), stated in Davos that the Russians were deploying different Kh-101 cruise missiles compared to those used in 2022. He highlighted that the new missiles are outfitted with an active electronic warfare system and heat traps.

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