Russia’s Su-57 stealth fighter jet will be armed with hypersonic missiles, according to Tass, a Russian state-owned media outlet. “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 told Tass. “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 Kh-47M2, or Kinzhal, air-launched hypersonic missile can hit speeds of up to Mach 10 and has a range of 1,200 miles. The Tass report also said “Kinzhal missiles are practically impossible to detect with modern air defense systems.”
While many western analysts remain skeptical of the Kinzhal’s capabilities, the missile appears to be an adaptation of the Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile that flies at hypersonic speeds. In March, Russia successfully test fired a Kinzhal from a MiG-31BMand is fitting it to a MiG-31K variant. But the “missiles with characteristics similar to that of the Kinzhal” will have to be smaller than the actual Kinzhal to fit in the Su-57’s weapons bays, according to The Diplomat.
The Russian military will reportedly receive a small batch of 12 Su-57s next year, but Moscow has yet to equip the fighter with theIzdeliye-30 engine, which means it is not yet a true fifth-generation jet.