The advanced Sukhoi Su-57 multipurpose jet, Russia’s first domestically produced fifth-generation stealth fighter, will be armed with new hypersonic missiles, according to a Russian military source.
"In accordance with Russia's State Armament Program for 2018-2027, Su-57 jet fighters will be equipped with hypersonic missiles," a Russian defense industry source toldTASS news agency on December 06.
"The jet fighters will receive missiles with characteristics similar to that of the Kinzhal missiles, but with inter-body placement and smaller size," the source added.
Moscow said the new Kinzhal ("Dagger"), a nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile, can hit speeds of up to Mach 10 and can perform evasive maneuvers that can render NATO’s US-led missile defense system completely "useless."
The missile can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads with a range of about 1,200 miles.
The new hypersonic missile will be much smaller than the current Kinzhal; this is due to size constraints of fitting the weapon inside the stealth aircraft’s weapons bay. The alternative would be mounting the missile on the outside of the plane, but that would increase the jet's radar signature.
No details within the report explain about a timetable for the development or the planned specifications for the new missiles. The Defense Ministry would neither confirm nor deny the information.
The Kinzhal missile is currently being tested in field training exercises.
President Vladimir Putin's State of the Nation Address on March 01, made it clear that Russia had acquired advanced weaponry, including laser weapon systems, an underwater nuclear-powered drone, hypersonic weapons, and nuclear-powered cruise missiles.
The Russian military will receive about a dozen Su-57s in 2019, but there are some concerns that the plane is not yet a true fifth-generation jet, due to the need for an engine upgrade.
While many western analysts remain skeptical of the Su-57 and Kinzhal's capabilities, it seems that Moscow is quickly moving ahead and preparing for the next military conflict.
The global economy is nearing the tipping of a massive slowdown in 2019, which could be followed by a recession. During economic downturns, the risk of military conflict tends to increase. Russia is preparing for a fight, as so is China.