TechSeries of Russian missile mishaps raises concerns about military reliability

Series of Russian missile mishaps raises concerns about military reliability

Ch-35 missile
Ch-35 missile
Images source: © Rosoboronexport

2:36 PM EST, March 3, 2024

The Russian Federation Army kicked off 2024 facing various challenges with its missile and rocket arsenal. Early in January, a "lost" OFAB-250 bomb was discovered in Belgorod. Soon after, further evidence emerged of the Russian defense industry's struggles, with images showing the wreckage of a Kh-101 cruise missile near Yelnya within Russian borders.

Continuing this unfortunate trend, another missile—a more advanced Kalibr—landed in the Krasnodar Territory, also inside Russia. Ukrainian sources have additionally reported malfunctioning missiles, including the Kh-47, landing in Ukraine but failing to hit their targets.

A Russian missile falls again in Russia

This incident involves an anti-ship Kh-35 missile, as reported by the Defence Blog. The rocket crashed in the Krasnodar Territory, southwest of Russia, approximately 124 miles from the Ukraine frontline. "The failed missile launch raises questions about the efficiency and reliability of Russian military equipment," the report notes. The malfunction caused the missile to crash en route to Ukraine, though the launch platform and the missile's traveled distance before falling remain uncertain. The Kh-35 Uran can be launched from various platforms, such as helicopters or ships.

Known in NATO code as Switchblade SS-N-25, the Kh-35 is an anti-ship missile developed in response to advanced Western counterparts. Its genesis traces back to 1978, marking the beginning of efforts to match the lighter, highly effective Western anti-ship weaponry.

Facing economic challenges, Russia delayed the Kh-35's development, conducting its first state tests between 1999 and 2003 and finally deploying it in 2004. Each missile measures about 12.3 feet, has a diameter of 1.38 feet, and features a wingspan of nearly 3.3 feet. The Kh-35 Uran weighs 1058 pounds, with the warhead alone weighing about 320 pounds. It can travel at a maximum speed of 0.8 Mach (about 671 mph) with an initial range of 81 miles, which doubles to 162 miles in the upgraded Uran-UE version. The missile employs inertial guidance and radar for precise targeting.

Ch-35 in Russia
Ch-35 in Russia© Defence Blog
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