Espreso. Global

Russia’s new cruise missile: what are its characteristics and potential threat?

31 October, 2023 Tuesday

The reported range of 2,500 kilometers for the new long-range cruise missile designed for the Su-57 does not align with even the exaggerated capabilities of the Russian military-industrial complex

Defense Express shared a study of Russia’s new capability.

Russian media have reported the development of a new long-range cruise missile for the Su-57 fighter jet, claiming it has a range of 2,500 kilometers. However, there are doubts about the accuracy of this claim. The Su-57 is considered a fifth-generation fighter jet in Russia, and the new missile is intended to be placed in its internal weapons bay. While the exact dimensions of the Su-57's weapons compartments are unknown, it is estimated that there are four, with the two largest in the center section and two smaller ones for air-to-air missiles in the wing. It is claimed that despite its smaller size, the missile exhibits a range comparable to the missiles used on the Tu-160 and Tu-95MS aircraft.

The X-59MK2 guided missile is said to have been integrated into the Su-57, with a length of 4.2 meters. This suggests that 4.2 meters is the maximum length for weapons in the internal compartments of the Su-57. However, Russia claims to have achieved a range for this missile comparable to the Kh-101 or Kh-555, i.e. from 2,500 km for the Kh-555 with a length of 6 meters, or up to 5,500 km for the Kh-101 with a length of 7.45 meters.


New and old versions of the Kh-59MK2 missile. Photo: Defense Express

The increased range of the Kh-59MK2 is attributed to design features such as a folding wing, internal layout, and a new twin-circuit turbojet engine. However, the claimed range seems to be highly optimistic compared to the missile's size.

In comparison, the AGM-158 JASSM-XR, a new cruise missile for tactical aviation being developed in the United States, is expected to have a range of 1,900 kilometers with a length of 4.72 meters and a weight of 2,300 kilograms. Even this missile, which is larger than the Su-57's internal compartments, falls short of the claimed range of the Russian missile.

The Kh-50 (also known as Kh-SD or Product 720) is another Russian air-to-air missile with a length of 6 meters, a weight of 1,600 kilograms, and a range of 1,500 kilometers. There hasn't been much information about this missile, but even it surpasses the claimed capabilities of the new missile for the Su-57.

Range and size of Kh-101, Kh-50, Kh-59MK2 missiles. Photo: Defense Express

Given the limitations of the Su-57's internal compartments and the small number of Su-57s in Russia, the greater threat to Ukraine may come from the serialized Kh-59MK missiles, which are used by Russian aircraft such as the Su-30, Su-34, and Su-35.

Thus, the reported range of 2,500 kilometers for the new missile in the Su-57 raises doubts and may not correspond to the actual capabilities of the Russian military-industrial complex, Defense Express concludes.

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