Country of origin
~ 6 t
Conventional (500 kg HE-FRAG) or nuclear (blast
yield of around 150 - 500 kT)
Range of fire
600 - 1 000 km
The Kh-32 is a new
Russian air-launched cruise missile. It
is a significantly improved version of the previous Kh-22 with
improved guidance, improved resistance to jamming, improved engine
and longer range. The Kh-32 was specially designed to attack
US carrier battle groups, as well as various ground targets. It will
be carried by Russian
Tu-22M3M medium-range bombers. Development of the Kh-32 began
back in the mid 1980s. It was created by Raduga design bureau. Since
the early 1990s development of this missile was stopped numerous
times due to funding problems. Testing of the Kh-32 began in 1998.
There were constant setbacks and delays. Trials of this missile were
finally completed only in 2016. The Kh-32 was officially adopted
during the same year. So this weapon is rather dated, as it took
more than 30 years to develop this missile.
Force currently operates just over 60 Tu-22M3 bombers. Though
serviceability rate of these bombers is around 50% or even lower. It
is planned that within the next couple of years some of these
bombers will be upgraded to the new Tu-22M3M standard in order to be
compatible with the new Kh-32 missile.
long-range missile was originally designed to overcome the US Aegis
Patriot air defense systems, that emerged in the early 1980s and
were the most sophisticated air defense systems in the world. The US
Aegis is naval air defense system. Since the early 1980s it was
Ticonderoga class cruisers. Since the early 1990s the Aegis air
defense system was also installed on
Arleigh Burke class destroyers, that were built in large
numbers. Both Ticonderoga and Arleigh Burke class warships protected
the US aircraft carriers from hostile missile attacks. The Patriot
is a land-based air defense system, used by the US Army, which also
emerged in the early 1980. Also at that time the US Air Force
planned to upgrade its
Eagle air superiority fighters and equip these with new
AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles that would have longer range.
Furthermore the US Navy planned to upgrade its
multi-role fighters, and equip them with new AIM-54C Phoenix
long-range air-to-air missiles, that were optimized to shoot down
high-altitude anti-ship missiles, such as the Kh-22. The Kh-22 had a
range of 80-330 km. This was not sufficient for stand off use and
Tu-22M series bombers that carried these missiles. So back in the mid 1980s Soviets needed a capable missile
with longer range, that could overcome US air defenses.
the Kh-32 resembles its predecessor, it is a much capable missile.
It is planned that the new Kh-32 will replace in service 3 variants
of the Kh-22N missiles that are currently used by Tu-22M3 bombers.
These include the baseline Kh-22N with conventional or nuclear
warhead and radar guidance, the Kh-22NA anti-ship missile with
nuclear warhead and inertial guidance, as well as Kh-22N
anti-radiation missile with conventional or nuclear warhead and
passive radar guidance. So it is planned that the Kh-32 will become
the main weapon of the Tu-22M3 and further upgraded Tu-22M3M
the Kh-32 has identical dimensions as the Kh-22 it has longer range. Advancements in electronics and
guidance systems allowed to reduce the size of internal components
and increase the size of the fuel tank. Warhead weight was reduced
from 1 000 kg to 500 kg. Furthermore the Kh-32 is
fitted with a more fuel efficient engine. All of these improvements
allowed to extend its range significantly.
has a range of 600-1 000 km, depending on the flight profile. Such
range allows the bomber to approach its target and launch the
missile at stand off range, without entering hostile air defense
zone. The Kh-32 can reach top speed of over Mach 4 (4 939 km/h) in
its terminal phase. It can outrun a number of interceptor missiles,
such as SM-6.
this long-range missile was designed to climb to an altitude of 40
and reach stratosphere and then dive towards the target. Most radars
can not detect and track targets that approach from the top.
Alternatively this missile can perform a lighter dive from the
stratosphere and approach the target flying at around 150-200 meters
to the ground. At such extreme altitudes it can not be reached by
hostile air defense missiles. The previous Kh-22 could climb only to
12 or 22.5 km.
has a conventional 500 kg warhead. Alternatively it is available
with a nuclear warhead. This one is estimated to have a blast yield
of around 150-500 kT. So even though warhead of this missile is much
smaller than that of the previous Kh-22, the new Kh-32 should be
much more accurate than its predecessor.
version has an active radar guidance. Seeker head of this missile
has been improved. Some sources suggest that
there are versions of this missile with inertial guidance and
passive radar guidance, just like on the Kh-22 variants.