Sat, 30 Sep 2023

Kim Jong-un inspects Russian hypersonic weapons
17 Sep 2023, 04:14 GMT+10

The North Korean leader visited an airfield in Vladivostok with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu

A MiG-31I jet armed with a Kinzhal hypersonic missile was among the warplanes shown to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, Russia's Defense Ministry has said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu met Kim, who arrived by motorcade at the Knevichi airfield in Primorsky Region on Saturday, where he reportedly inspected some of the most modern aircraft operated by the Russian Air Forces.

They included Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 strategic bombers, which constitute the air component of Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

Su-34, Su-30SM, Su-35S and Su-25SM3 fighter jets were also at Knevichi for Kim and Shoigu to inspect. "Particular attention was paid to their flight characteristics and weapons capabilities," the Defense Ministry said.

One of the highlights of the tour was a MiG-31I jet armed with a Kinzhal hypersonic air-to-surface missile. The commander of Russia's long-range aviation forces, Lieutenant General Sergey Kobylash, told the guests about the characteristics of the system, which according to the ministry, "has no comparable counterparts anywhere in the world and has shown high effectiveness in combat."

The Kinzhal (Dagger) has been in service with the Russian military since 2017. It can travel at a speed of up to Mach 12 (around 14,800kph), while constantly performing evasive maneuvers, which is believed to allow it to penetrate any existing air defenses.

Moscow has deployed Kinzhals on a number of occasions during the conflict in Ukraine. In May, the Defense Ministry said the hypersonic missile was used to cause significant damage to a US-supplied Patriot air-defense system stationed in Kiev.

Kim and Shoigu then drove to Uliss Bay in Vladivostok, where they boarded the Marshal Shaposhnikov frigate of Russia's Pacific Fleet. The warship, which underwent modernization a few years ago, is armed with an Uran anti-ship missile system, Kalibr cruise missiles, as well as an A-190 100mm automatic artillery system.

Negotiations between the North Korean leader and the Russian defense minister have also been planned. The pair last met in July when Shoigu made a trip to Pyongyang.

Kim arrived in Russia by train on Tuesday for his first visit since 2019. He toured the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur Region with Vladimir Putin and held a round of talks with the Russian president. On Friday, the North Korean leader visited military and civilian aviation plants in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Khabarovsk Region.

On Friday, the North Korean leader visited military and civilian aviation pants in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Khabarovsk Region.


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