Air Weapons: Russia Creates A Hyper-Speed Harpoon


February 11, 2013: The Russian Air Force has put a new air-to-ground missile, the X-38, into service. Little official information was released, but photos show something similar to the American Harpoon. Thus the X-38 appears to be a half-ton missile that is 4.2 meters (13 feet) long and 310mm in diameter. It was mentioned that the missile can travel at speeds of over 35 kilometers a minute and has a range of 40 kilometers. This is less than a third the range of the slower (14 kilometers a minute) Harpoon. The X-38 can be equipped with several different guidance systems (GPS, laser, heat sensing). Folding wings enable it to fit into internal bomb bays. The missile is stealthy and can use the Russian GLONASS as well as GPS for guidance and has a shelf life of ten years. The X-38 can hit moving targets and the launching aircraft can change its direction in flight. Designed for the new T-50 fighter, the X-38 can also be used in the MiG-29 and Su-34. There’s little evidence of exactly how effective the X-38 is. On paper it is very impressive and is being offered for export.


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