Russian MiG-31 Fighter Jets begin Patrols over the Black Sea

Russia | October 18, 2023, Wednesday // 15:49|  views

Russian MiG-31K strike fighters armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles began regularly patrolling the Black Sea. The news was announced by President Vladimir Putin at a briefing in Beijing.

"On my order, the military and space forces of Russia will start patrolling the airspace above the Black Sea on a permanent basis in a neutral zone. Our MiG-31 aircraft are armed with Kinzhal missiles. These missiles have a range of over a thousand kilometers and reach a speed 9 times that of the sound," he said.

Then, when asked by journalists, Putin specified that "this is not a threat" and that "we will carry out visual control, control with the help of weapons, of what is happening."

His decision to use the MiG-31K is surprising, because Russia probably has no more than 40 such aircraft, and they are not intended for surveillance and "visual control", but for striking anti-aircraft missile systems and command posts in a wide perimeter. Equally curious is their arming with this particular missile.

In late August, Vadym Skibitsky of Ukrainian military intelligence told RBC-Ukraine that Russia currently had 75 Kinzhal missiles, a land-based version of the Iskander missile known for their effectiveness and precision targeting. Their use in the summer has started to decline, probably because the Russian army is trying to build up a stockpile of them and because there is a shortage of components due to international sanctions. According to Skibitsky, the capacity of the military-industrial complex is to produce about 6 Kinzhal missiles per month.

Read more from the 602nd day of the war in Ukraine.

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Tags: mig-31, Black Sea, Russian, Putin

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