A fundamental decision was made to equip the naval aviation of the Northern Fleet with the Dagger hypersonic complex. Training of personnel and infrastructure for the maintenance and operation of hypersonic weapons will begin next year, sources in the defense department told Izvestia. How long it will take, the military refused to clarify. Experts note that the novelty will become a means of strategic deterrence and a tool for demonstrating Russia’s power in the Arctic region.
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Expansion of geography
MiG-31 fighters are used as carriers of the Dagger hypersonic missiles. The squadron of the 98th mixed air regiment, located in Monchegorsk on the Kola Peninsula, is now equipped with such machines as part of the 45th Army of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Northern Fleet (SF). The complex can enter service with a new aviation unit, the plans for the creation of which were previously reported by Izvestia.
The Chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, previously said that missile tests were successfully carried out at test ranges with various climatic conditions, including the Arctic. He also announced the development of the airfield network to expand the geography of the use of the “Dagger”.
At the beginning of this year, the commander of the Central Military District, Alexander Lapin, announced plans to equip the 712th Fighter Aviation Regiment in Kansk with hypersonic complexes by 2024. Izvestia has already written that there are plans to create squadrons with such missiles in other units equipped with MiG-31s.
With the beginning of 2021, the Federation Council itself will become an independent military district, the fifth in a row. The area of responsibility of the new entity will include the Arctic, the Arctic coast of Russia and the Northern Sea Route (NSR). The Atlantic Ocean is also included in the scope of his ships. “Dagger” is capable of striking targets at a distance of up to 2 thousand km. Scandinavia, the Baltic countries and most of the NSR will fall within its radius. In this case, the rocket not only has hypersonic speed, but also maneuvers in flight. The military claims that this makes it invulnerable to existing and future air defense and missile defense systems.
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“The Northern Fleet has always been an operational-strategic formation that ensures the country’s security not only in the Arctic Ocean, but also in the Atlantic theater of operations,” Rear Admiral Vsevolod Khmyrov, a former submarine commander, Hero of Russia, told Izvestia. “In his area of responsibility is the Norwegian Sea and everything south of it in the Atlantic. Traditionally, the Northern Fleet also ensures the safety of the Northern Sea Route, the shortest between Europe and the Far East. Its forces must be ready not only for use near their own shores, but also at a considerable distance from them. Therefore, when building a fleet, the state must adhere to the principle of balancing weapons systems. It is about a combination of surface, submarine, ground, air and space forces.
Recently, NATO’s activity in the Arctic region has increased, and Russia, accordingly, is also building up its forces on the northern borders, the expert added.
– For any maritime state, the fleet is a powerful weapon, even in peacetime. Its functions include, among other things, operations to demonstrate force, – explained the rear admiral.
Air-based Dagger missiles are one of the newest types of strategic weapons. President Vladimir Putin spoke about them in his message to the Federal Assembly in 2018.
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In the magazine of the Ministry of Defense “Voennaya Mysl”, the hypersonic “Dagger” is called a weapon designed to perform strategic tasks in the pre-nuclear phase of large-scale conflicts. It is designed to destroy critical enemy targets, including military infrastructure, as well as government control units. Its very presence in service is called a factor of strategic non-nuclear deterrence, capable of stopping or preventing hostile actions of adversaries against Russia.
“Such a product in any direction will come in handy,” Lieutenant General Valery Gorbenko, ex-commander of the 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army, told Izvestia. – This is the strongest weapon, other countries do not have this. Hypersonic complexes from the Northern Fleet airfields will cover both the northern and northwestern territories. Today, air defense systems that could intercept the “Dagger” simply do not exist. Therefore, these missiles, if necessary, will be able to effectively perform the assigned tasks.
A squadron of ten aircraft with new ammunition is still available only in the Southern Military District. She took up an experienced combat duty in December 2017.
During the first year of operation, the military reported on more than 380 performed flights related to patrolling over the Black and Caspian Seas. Subsequently, the defense department reported several launches of “Daggers” during major exercises. Aircraft with these missiles operated in conjunction with the Su-57 and long-range bombers of strategic aviation.
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According to the Defense Ministry, the MiG-31K is capable of interacting with other equipment. Thus, the modernized Il-20M electronic reconnaissance aircraft can issue target designation directly to the Dagger via a secure communication channel.
Together with hypersonic systems, five other types of strategic weapons were announced in 2018. Among them are the Burevestnik cruise missiles with a nuclear power plant and unlimited range. The Peresvet lasers have been developed to blind the enemy’s reconnaissance satellites.
The first Avangard complexes with hypersonic gliding units were also put into service. Preliminary tests of the Sarmat heavy liquid-propellant intercontinental missiles, capable of delivering many nuclear warheads and decoys to any point on the earth, are underway.
The submarine forces of the fleet will receive deep-sea unmanned vehicles “Poseidon” with a nuclear power plant and a warhead. All of this technology is being developed as a strategic deterrent in response to the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and other arms limitation agreements.