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"Zircon" or "Oniks"? What missiles did Russia use to hit Kyiv and why ballistics is so dangerous

Kyiv is under Russian missile attack. Source: Getty Images

At about 10:30 a.m., Russian occupation forces hit Kyiv with two ballistic missiles launched from the temporarily occupied Crimea. During the air attack on the capital, the Russians used "Zircon" hypersonic missiles.

This was reported by the head of the Center for Countering Disinformation Andrii Kovalenko. Earlier, the network suggested that it could have been "Zircon" or "Oniks" missiles. Both types are designed to hit ships and land-based military targets.

For example, the Telegram channel "Nikolaevsky Vanek" wrote that these were probably Russian "Oniks" missiles. They noted that the ballistic missiles were launched from Tarkhankut in Crimea.

"Another one. Most likely, it's Onyx. They are being launched from Tarkhankut," the message reads.

At the same time, the Telegram channel Monitor reported that Kyiv was probably hit by several "Zircon" hypersonic missiles from the territory of Crimea.

"Explosions were heard in Kyiv. Probably, several hypersonic "Zircon" missiles were launched from the territory of Crimea," the message reads.

Later, the Telegram channel "Colonel GS" published a photo of the tail section of a 3M22 "Zircon" missile made in 2022, shot down in Kyiv on March 25.

''Zircon'' or ''Oniks''? What missiles did Russia use to hit Kyiv and why ballistics is so dangerous
''Zircon'' or ''Oniks''? What missiles did Russia use to hit Kyiv and why ballistics is so dangerous

It should be noted that ballistic missiles are an extremely dangerous and insidious weapon used by the occupiers to attack the territory of Ukraine. First of all, their threat lies in their flight trajectory, as the missiles rise into the stratosphere and fly at high speed to their target.

Ballistic missiles are considered to be one of the most difficult targets for Ukrainian air defense, as they can fly over long distances and be launched from a variety of fixed and mobile launchers.

What is known about the "Zircon" and "Oniks" missiles

The "Zirkon" missile is a high-speed missile that is one of the latest developments in Russian missile engineering. The Kremlin positions this missile as a serious threat to the armies of Western countries.

Unlike the "Daggers," which are launched from aircraft, the "Zircon" was designed to be mounted on ships and submarines and can be adapted to land-based launchers. This expands the possibilities of their use, including unexpected attack scenarios.

Information about the development of these missiles became known several years ago, and in 2019, dictator Vladimir Putin said that "Zircon" could attack both sea and land targets at a distance of more than 1,000 km and reach speeds of up to 9 Mach.

There is not enough information about the range of the "Zirkons," as, in addition to Putin's 1,000 km combat range, other Russian sources have indicated 300-600 km. However, this parameter may change due to modernizations and flight altitude – on higher trajectories, the range may increase due to lower air resistance.

The weight of the warhead is estimated at 300-400 kg.

The "Zircon" missiles officially entered service with the Russian Navy in January 2023, and their mass production began in 2022.

There is not much information about these missiles and their exact tactical and technical characteristics, as the Russians try to keep most of the "Zircon's" characteristics secret.

''Zircon'' or ''Oniks''? What missiles did Russia use to hit Kyiv and why ballistics is so dangerous

The P-800 "Oniks" missile is a supersonic, versatile, medium-range anti-ship missile that was developed in the late 1970s.

From the very beginning, this system was intended to be universal and capable of being deployed on submarines, surface ships and boats, aircraft, and coastal launchers.

The "Oniks" missile is designed to combat

  • Against surface naval groups and individual ships in conditions of intense fire and electronic warfare;
  • Against ground targets, with a significant increase in the range of targets.

The "Oniks" missile flies at supersonic speeds at all stages of flight. In addition, the system has a set of flexible trajectories ("low", "high, low").

This system operates on a "fire and forget" basis, and it is hardly noticeable to radar systems due to the use of STELS technology. The export version of the "Oniks" missile is known as "Yakhont."

The Bastion coastal anti-ship missile system is one of the carriers of the "Oniks" missile, along with the Kalibr and X-35 Uran missile systems.

Onyx missile characteristics:

  • Length (for the ship version) – 8 meters;
  • Length (for the aircraft version) – 6.1 meters;
  • Launch weight – 3 thousand kg;
  • Weight with solid fuel ignition – 3900 kg;
  • Maximum speed – 750 meters per second;
  • Range along the high-altitude trajectory – from 450 to 500 km;
  • Flight altitude on the route section – up to 14 thousand meters;
  • Target detection range – at least 50 km.

The price of one "Oniks" missile ranges from $1.25 million to $1.3 million.

''Zircon'' or ''Oniks''? What missiles did Russia use to hit Kyiv and why ballistics is so dangerous

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