Russian fighter jets practice air-to-air missile strikes as Putin steps up defences - DAILY NEWS

Russian fighter jets practice air-to-air missile strikes as Putin steps up defences - DAILY NEWS
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    Russian fighter jets practice air-to-air missile strikes as Putin steps up defences
    MOSCOW'S sabre-rattling has stepped up a gear as fighter jets practiced live air-to-air
    missile strikes against aerial targets just a day after state media confirmed sea testing
    of Vladimir Putin's new hypersonic missile.
    Ten crews from the Russian Knights, Russia's equivalent of the Red Arrows, displayed their
    military might by hitting aerial targets with live missiles in secret exercises, the Russian
    Defence Ministry confirmed.
    The aerobatic team were taking part in drills aimed at practicing interception of incoming
    missiles at altitudes of five miles, (26,000 feet), similar heights reached by commercial
    airliners.
    Pilots replicated a real-life scenario by going into the tests blind and searching for
    the targets by themselves.
    The exercises took place at day and night at the Ladoga testing base near St Petersburg.
    A spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry confirmed the impressive display, saying:
    "Air crews of the Russian Knights aerobatics team of Russia's Aerospace Forces practiced
    live firing of air-to-air missiles, destroying aerial targets at the Ladoga training facility."
    The Russian Knights, known as the Russkiye Vityazi, are the only aerobatic display team
    that performs stunts on heavy fighter jets.
    The squad consists of eight Sukhoi Su-30SM supermaneuverable planes.
    Yesterday, Russian state owned news agency TASS confirmed Moscow is ready to begin sea-based
    testing of its new hypersonic Zircon missiles.
    The programme has been surrounded in secrecy with President Putin claiming the rockets
    are unmatched by any Western missiles.
    The cruise missiles will be launched from a Navy ship in Russia's Northern Fleet and
    reached speeds of eight times the speed of sound, Mach 8, during land-based testing in
    December.
    A source in the Russian military-industrial complex said: "Trials of launching a missile
    from a naval vessel are planned to start at the end of the year.
    "The Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate, also known as Project 22350, from the Northern
    Fleet will be used."
    The Russian defence ministry did not officially confirm the comment.
    The Royal Navy's Sea Ceptor surface-to-air missile system is only capable of intercepting
    targets flying up to Mach 3.
    Last month, a retired Russian admiral said Russia's naval ships are capable of carrying
    dozens of the 6,000mph missiles each.
    Counter admiral Vsevolod Khmyrov said: "The number of military ships and submarines with
    Zircon missiles onboard on combat duty in West Atlantic and East Pacific may stand at
    two-three ships on each direction with about 40 missiled onboard."
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