Two MiG-31K fighters capable of carrying the hypersonic Kinzhal missiles were for the first time deployed to the Khmeimim airbase in Syria. As per the Russian MoD briefing, The deployment is a part of the joint exercise between the Russian Navy and the Russian Aerospace Forces, which began on June 25, in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.
“As part of the exercise at the Russian Khmeimim airbase in the Syrian Arab Republic, a pair of MiG-31K aircraft flew from Russian airfields, which have the ability to use the latest hypersonic missiles from the Dagger complex,” the Defense Ministry said. The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (Dagger) is a Russian nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) and has been integrated on the MiG-31K interceptor aircraft, a modified MIG-31BM. As per Russian MoD, the Kh-47M2 ALBM can rapidly accelerate to Mach 4 and may reach top speeds of up to Mach 10 while performing evasive maneuvers. The MoD has previously said that the missile range is about 2,000 kilometers (and 3000 km when launched from a Tu-22M3).
As per the commander of one of the MiG-31K crews, by order of the command, carriers of hypersonic missiles will perform “training tasks” in Syria. “The new runway was comfortable, the landing was smooth. The instrumental approach (landing) systems and the Aerodrome ensure the performance of tasks in both simple and difficult meteorological conditions, day and night,” he added (translated from Russian language statement).
The replacement of the second runway of the Khmeimim airbase was completed in May and is now capable of landing long-range Tu-22M3 bombers and MiG-31K fighters. The base can now be used to perform missions over the Mediterranean Sea.