Michael Weiss and James Rushton report:
It was meant to be the Russian “wonder weapon,” but it turned out to be just another example of Vladimir Putin’s military over-promising and under-delivering.
The Kh-47M2 “Kinzhal” — which means “dagger” in Russian — was billed as a state-of-the-art hypersonic missile, “invincible,” in Putin’s words, to Western air defenses. For the early months of Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine, it seemed to be just that. The missile had been used in the first year of the war to successfully strike several targets across Ukraine, no doubt causing significant damage.
That all changed when Ukraine received U.S.-manufactured Patriot PAC-2 and PAC-3 air defense systems in April. The PAC-3, the latest version of the venerable American system, was originally developed as part of America’s Strategic Defense Initiative, nicknamed “Star Wars” by its critics, first introduced in the early 1980s by President Ronald Reagan to counter ballistic missiles.
Over a little more than two weeks, Ukrainian-manned Patriots shot down seven out of seven Kinzhals launched at targets throughout Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian Air Force. Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed the first shoot-down at a press conference on May 9, and another administration official speaking to the New York Times on May 16 confirmed the other interceptions. [Continue reading…]