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Kh-101

Air-launched cruise missile

Kh-101 missile

The Russian Kh-101 stealthy cruise missile is a long-range standoff weapon

 
 
Country of origin Russia
Entered service ?
Missile length 7.45 m
Missile diameter 0.74 m
Wing span 3 m
Missile launch weight 2 200 - 2 400 kg
Warhead weight 400 - 450 kg
Warhead type Conventional
Range of fire 3 000 km
CEP 10 ~ 20 m

 

   In the late 1980s soviets were looking for a new air-launched cruise missile to replace their Kh-55. The new missile started life as the Kh-90. Its development commenced in the late 1980s, however after few flight tests the program was suspended. A new Kh-101 program was launched, which called for a development for a stealthy air-launched cruise missile, which would be carried by strategic bombers. The Kh-101 made its first flight in 1998. Evaluation trials started in 2000. First pictures of this missile appeared in 2007. This missile was adopted and is currently used by the Russian Air Force. It was used during the Russian military actions in Syria.

   The Kh-101 is a long-range standoff weapon. It is carried and launched by bomber aircraft. It is larger and heavier than the Kh-55, but retains a similar design with drop-down engine. Externally it has some similarities with a US AGM-158 JASSM air-launched cruise missile, though the Russian missile has significantly longer range. The Kh-101 is carried by modernized Tu-160M long-range strategic bombers (12 missiles internally) and Tu-95MSM strategic bombers (6 missiles internally and 8 missiles externally). As far as the Kh-101 missiles are longer than the Kh-55, these could not be loaded in internal bomb bay of the Tu-95MS.

   The Kh-101 is armed with conventional warhead and has a range of 3 000 km. Depending on the version the missile weights 2 200-2 400 kg and carries a 400-450 kg warhead. Most likely that some types of warheads are available, including high explosive, penetration high explosive, and submunitions warhead. There is also a similar Kh-102 missile with a 20 kT thermonuclear warhead.

   This cruise missile is equipped with an electro-optical system for correcting the flight trajectory and with a TV guidance system for terminal guidance. The Kh-101 is estimated to be accurate within 10-20 meter CEP. Some sources report that this missile has a CEP of just 5 meters. Such accuracy is sufficient to hit infrastructure targets. The missile is re-targetable so it can be used to engage moving targets. It has a variable flight profile and travels at altitudes ranging from 30 to 10 000 meters.

   During flight the engine drops below the missile. Also there are pop-out wings for cruising efficiency. This missile has reduced radar cross-section and is more stealthier than the Kh-55. This feature makes it harder to detect and destroy while the missile in on the way to its target.

 

Variants

 

   Kh-102 is similar to the Kh-101 stealthy cruise missile, but carries a thermonuclear warhead with a blast yield of 25 kT. It warhead weights 300 kg. This missile has a range of 4 500 km. The Kh-102 missile is used by the Russian Air Force alongside the Kh-101.

   Kh-BD is a future cruise missile with a range of 3 000 km, or greater. In 2017 this missile was at the project stage. It is planned with conventional and nuclear warheads. It should be carried by modernized Tu-160M2 bombers.

 
Kh-101 missile

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Kh-101 missile

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Kh-101 missile

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Kh-101 missile

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