The Defense News portal, citing a Pentagon source, said that the US military will not be able to effectively counter the Kh-22 missiles
The first Kh-22 Burya missiles entered service in 1971. The original purpose of the Kh-22 Burya missiles was to destroy enemy aircraft carriers and aircraft carrier strike groups (AUGs), using a nuclear or high-explosive warhead.
Hit accuracy is ensured by an active radar head. The speed of the missile was 3.5 Mach, the maximum destruction range was up to 600 km.
The next version of the Kh-22 missile, the Kh-32 air-to-ground cruise missile (known as product 9-A-2362), was adopted by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in 2016. The new missile has a modernized engine with increased thrust, which allows the acceleration of the new “Storm” to almost 5 Mach (from above – already supersonic), lift in flight up to 30 km and hit targets at a distance of up to 1000 km.
“Kh-22 missiles were never used for their main purpose, which is anti-ship missiles,” says military expert retired Capt. Vassily Dadikin. Their effectiveness was tested only during practice shooting at sea and land targets.
“Initial accuracy left much to be desired, especially at extreme ranges, when the deviation reached 600 meters, which was compensated by the massive missile attack on the group of ships. The optimal range for the Kh-22 is considered to be 300 km,” he says.
Another military analyst and journalist, Vladislav Shurygin, agrees with this view, stating at the same time that the speed of the missile makes it difficult to shoot it down.
“The Kh-22 missile was rarely used against sea targets,” it says. He points out that the plane cannot return with unused ammunition due to the design of the missile, which has keels that open, capable of touching the runway during landing. Therefore, the Kh-22 must be launched in the area of the training ground or in the area of combat use.
According to the gazeta, the Kh-22 “Storm” were used during the “special military operation” in Ukraine. They destroyed the arsenals in Kremenchug, and attacked the infrastructure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the regions of Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy.
“Ukrainian media were quick to state that the Russians reportedly ran out of Caliber and were using anti-ship missiles with low accuracy and the Armed Forces of Ukraine effectively shot them down. It is a lie. Although the Kh-22 missiles are anti-ship, they can find and hit ground targets with no less success. It all depends on the object that requires destruction, for which the appropriate ammunition is selected, ”says Dandykin.
Military expert Boris Dzherelievsky, in turn, believes that the use of Kh-22 in Ukraine was an unpleasant surprise for NATO.
“Until this year, both in the United States and across NATO, they were convinced that Russia did not have a wide range of high-precision weapons,” Dzherelievsky reports. “The West considered ‘Caliber’, ‘Daggers’, ‘Zircons’ some kind of Russian myth and refused to believe in their mass production. And they simply forgot about the Kh-22. The use of these weapons made them see differently the whole concept of modern warfare. Metaphorically speaking, they tested these missiles on themselves and realized that they were unable to withstand them in the event of an armed conflict with Russia.”
The expert added that in the situation with the Kh-22, there is more panic because of their number. Officially, the number of missiles is unknown, but according to open sources, their number in storage may exceed several thousand units.
“It is, of course, possible to shoot down even such a high-speed missile, using American and European anti-missile defense systems, but anti-missiles are much more expensive and their number is smaller. The cost of launching a Patriot PAC-3 MANPADS missile, is about 3 million dollars. The price of the Kh-22 is about ten to fifteen times less. With him, Russia can simply hit Europe and America, especially because of the quantity it possesses. This is what scared the Pentagon,” concluded Dzherelievsky.