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Russia’s Su-57s Conducting Captive-Carry Tests of New Air-Launched Hypersonic Missile - Report

© AP Photo / Pavel GolovkinSu-57 fifth-generation fighter jets in Zhukovsky
Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets in Zhukovsky - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.02.2021
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Defense industry leaders have long indicated that Russia’s advanced fifth-generation Su-57 fighter, equaled by only a handful of other jets in the skies, will have several special weapons designed for it.

Russia’s stealthy Su-57 is reportedly undergoing tests on its ability to carry a new hypersonic weapon, according to sources inside Russia’s military-industrial complex.

Russian media reported earlier this week that a realistic mockup of a new “intra-fuselage hypersonic missile” was being carried by an Su-57 for test flights. The details of the weapon are vague; however, it is likely the same weapon reported to have been developed in February 2020.

The Su-57 has long been expected to one day carry the Kh-47M2 “Kinzhal” missile, an air-launched hypersonic weapon already deployed on the Russian Air Force’s MiG-31 long-range fighters that has a blistering top speed of Mach 10. The Tu-160 supersonic bomber is slated to receive a similar upgrade.

© Sputnik / Evgeny Biyatov / Go to the photo bankMulti-purpose fighter MiG-31 with the hypersonic Kinzhal rocket on the military parade devoted to the 73rd anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945
Russia’s Su-57s Conducting Captive-Carry Tests of New Air-Launched Hypersonic Missile - Report - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.02.2021
Multi-purpose fighter MiG-31 with the hypersonic Kinzhal rocket on the military parade devoted to the 73rd anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945

However, in order to be carried inside the Su-57’s 14-foot-long internal weapons bay, the missile would have to be much smaller than the Kinzhal, which is roughly 26 feet long. No extant hypersonic weapon has been so small, as all have been the size of large cruise missiles or air-launched ballistic missiles.

Such a weapon might be powered by an air-breathing scramjet, a type of advanced rocket engine used to attain ultra-fast speeds, such as that currently being developed by India.

Russia has also developed the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, which is launched by a large ground-based rocket, and is currently testing the Zircon hypersonic anti-ship missile, which will one day be carried by its missile cruisers.

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