Shortly after President Putin's announcement of the commissioning of all new hypersonic missile platforms into the Russian military, Russia's Aerospace Forces conducted a successful test launch of the Kinzhal 'Dagger' hypersonic platform. The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement regarding the launch: "MiG-31 jet of the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted a test launch of hypersonic aviation and missile system Kinzhal in a set district. The launch was successful, the hypersonic missile hit the designated target at the field."
The MiG-31 is a unique platform operated exclusively by Russia and Kazakhstan, designed as an interceptor capable of carrying extremely heavy munitions such as the R-33 and R-37 air to air missiles - weapons designed exclusively for the aircraft. The interceptor's speed, altitude and advanced radar systems make it an ideal platform for operating long range hypersonic platforms, allowing the MiG-31 to serve as a long range strike fighter alongside its original air to air combat role. According to the Russian Defence Ministry over 250 flights had been carried out since the beginning of the year to prepare the missile for operational use, with crew training for various weather conditions - both day and night. The Kinzhal air to surface hypersonic missile has no analogues in the world, and can pose a major threat to enemy ground targets and potentially warships as well. The unique flight and technical characteristics of MiG-31, to which Russian military rivals lack any analogous platforms, means the combination of cutting edge hypersonic technologies with the aircraft is truly unique. With Russia's fleet of MiG-31 fighters numbering in the hundreds, it is likely that several dozen if not more will be repurposed for a long range strike role deploying hypersonic missile platforms - an invaluable asset considering the range, speed and survivability of the aircraft and the unparalleled capabilities of the new missile.