Russia — New Gremlin Hypersonic Missile Slated for Testing

  • This year, the tests are expected to begin of the propulsion system of the complex.
  • At present, it is unknown, if the Gremlin will have an option to be equipped with a nuclear warhead.
  • The characteristics have not been released by Russia.

Russia announced that the new Gremlin (GZUR) air-launched hypersonic missile testing is scheduled for 2023. The Gremlin will be considerably smaller in comparison to the previously-adopted X-47M2 Dagger. Furthermore, due to the smaller size of the Gremlin, it will not limit the use with the heavy bombers and MiG-31 interceptors.

The Sukhoi Su-35 is the designation for two improved derivatives of the Su-27 air-defence fighter. They are single-seat, twin-engine, supermaneuverable aircraft, designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and built by the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant.

In addition, the Gremlin carriers could be utilized with the long-range supersonic missile carrier Tu-22M,  Su-57, Su-30SM and Su-35 fighters. In fact, the Russian Air Force will receive a super-weapon. This year, the tests are expected to begin of the propulsion system of the complex.

This month, the JSC Turaevsky Machine-Building Design Bureau “Soyuz” (TMKB “Soyuz”) released an announcement regarding the bench fire tests of the latest engine as part of the development work of the “Gremlin.” The engine received the Russian designation “Product 70.”

Additionally, the reports surfaced in February that the tests were conducted on the  fifth-generation Su-57 fighter. The tests are based on the functional weight and size models of an unnamed GZUR.

The size of the missile allows it to be placed in the inner compartment of the Russian stealth fighter. Earlier, there were reports regarding the plans to use such ammunition on the long-range bombers, Tu-22M3, as well as the use of operational and tactical aviation aircraft.

According to Izvestia, in 2020, “Product 70” passed the fire tests at the C-12. The C-12 is designed for the hours-long testing of the rocket engines with simulated flight at high speeds and altitudes of up to 15.5 miles.

It was originally created for the Soviet intercontinental cruise missiles “Burya” testing.  It continues to be used in the numerous subsequent Russian developments of the advanced weapons.

Thus far, there has been limited information regarding the Gremlin specifications. However, there are speculations that Gremlin will have a range of up to 932.05 miles and a hypersonic speed of Mach 6.

The Sukhoi Su-57 is a stealth, single-seat, twin-engine multirole fifth-generation jet fighter being developed since 2002 for air superiority and attack operations.

It should be noted that the Guinness World Records recognized NASA’s X-43A scramjet with a new world speed record for a jet-powered aircraft— Mach 9.6, or nearly 7,000 mph.

The subcontracts contracted to work on the Gremlin mentioned the homing head (GOS) “Gran K-02” developed by JSC “UPKB.” It is able to allow Gremlin to defeat targets, not only targets on the land. At present, it is unknown, if the Gremlin will have an option to be equipped with a nuclear warhead.

In many cases, the modern ammunition for long-range and strategic aviation is developed simultaneously, with both conventional and special warheads. Nevertheless, it is very likely a nuclear warhead is in the works. It is expected that more details of the project will be released throughout the year.

Overall, Russia will continue developing new defense technology. The new sanctions against Russia will only solidify the Russian desire to design superior weapons. The future arms race will be geared towards space. The US and the EU is rightfully concerned regarding the new Russian projects.

Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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