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British Defense Ministry: Russian forces adapt Kh-101 missile for “greater effect”

British intelligence has assessed the Russian military’s modification of its premier Kh-101 air-launched cruise missile as a concerning development.
Kh-101/102. Credit: Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance
British Defense Ministry: Russian forces adapt Kh-101 missile for “greater effect”

The British Defense Ministry reported on 8 May that the Long-Range Aviation Command of the Russian Aerospace Forces installed a second warhead on the Kh-101/Kh-102 air-launched cruise missile. The Russian army has already adopted the new version of the missile.

The Long-Range Aviation Command of the Russian Aerospace Forces reportedly has been trying to modify its systems and tactics throughout the war against Ukraine.

According to the British Defense Ministry, such a way Russia seeks to expand its capabilities to achieve “greater effect” as many missiles are intercepted by Ukrainian air defense systems.

In addition, Moscow wants to use older missiles, as the VKS exhausted more modern systems in the early days of the war, the Defense Ministry said.

The UK Intelligence indicates that this latest modification of the missile has probably halved the range of the Kh-101/Kh-102, but analysts say Russia does not need its full range.

The second warhead was designed for increased fragmentation at the target. This will likely make the system more effective in striking non-hardened targets, the British intelligence reported.

Russia often uses Kh-101/Kh-102 missiles in its massive attacks against Ukraine. Overnight into 8 May, the Russian military launched 45 Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles from Tu-95 MS strategic aviation aircraft.

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