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Russian Vikhr air-launched missile is capable of neutralizing all modern Western tanks

According to insights provided by Russian military analysts, the Vikhr air-launched missile has the capability to destroy any Western tanks donated to Ukraine. The supersonic missile features a tandem-charge warhead, a powerful attribute akin to that of the Kornet, Fagot, and Konkurs-M Russian anti-tank missile systems. The 9M113M missile used in these systems also comes with a tandem-charge warhead and has proven itself effective in mission delivery.
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The Russian Vikhr air-launched Missile could be a game-changer in modern warfare, capable of neutralizing Western tanks in the Ukraine war. (Picture source Vitaly Kuzmin)

Developed by the renowned firearm manufacturer Kalashnikov for the Ka-52 Alligator assault helicopter, the Vikhr missile is tasked with hitting maneuverable ground targets protected with reactive armor. Additionally, it can also engage medium-speed airborne targets such as helicopters, attack aircraft, and drones.

Kalashnikov Group concluded the flight tests of the enhanced Vikhr-1 missile in spring 2021. During the tests at a proving ground of the Russian Defense Ministry, a Ka-52 helicopter launched 22 of these missiles. The upgrade improved the missile's short-range strike ability and enhanced its flight stability. At present, the Vikhr missile forms an integral part of the Ka-52 assault helicopter's arsenal.

Based on publicly accessible data, the Vikhr missile can breach modern Western main battle tanks fitted with composite and explosive reactive armor. This includes tanks like the American M1 Abrams, the German Leopard 2, and the British Challenger 2.

The Vikhr has a maximum range of up to 10 km, which narrows down to 5-6 km at night. Its tandem High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead can penetrate Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA). Vikhr is claimed to penetrate up to 1,000 mm of steel armor behind ERA. The missile detonates upon contact when aimed at armored targets. An additional feature is its proximity fuse, which enables area-effect. This versatility allows the missile to also target non-armored entities, infantry, and helicopters, thus often being referred to as a multi-purpose missile.

The laser-guided Vikhr follows a laser beam directed at the target. It incorporates an automatic sight unit equipped with TV (for the day) and infrared (for the night) channels. Both target tracking and missile control are automated. The missile, traveling at supersonic speeds, can be launched individually or in pairs against the same target.

The Vikhr missile boasts a hit probability of up to 95% against stationary targets and up to 80% against moving targets. However, it is important to note that this missile's accuracy diminishes over long ranges due to the spread of the guiding laser beam.

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