Kh-101 / X-101 - Program
The Kh-101, in service since 2013, was first tested in the 1990s. Russian President Boris Yeltsin announced in January 1992 that he would end the manufacture of all sea- and air- launched cruise missiles. According to unconfirmed reports the development of the missile began in 1984 (other sources report 1992), and according to media reports was completed by 1995. In the late 1980s work started on the supersonic X-90 ALCM, but the program was suspended after several test launches. Instead, KB "Rainbow" by 1995 began the ALCM X-101 with significantly improved accuracy of fire.
As of 1996 the Kh-101 was reported that at least two next-generation strategic cruise missiles were under development, with conventional (Kh-101) or nuclear (Kh-102) warheads. The Kh-101/102 was in development for most of the 1990s, and were expected to enter service in 2002-3. Reported to incorporate stealth features.
It was apparently first launched in October of 1998 by a Tu-160 during 37th Air Army exercises. According to Western data, test prototypes missiles X-101 started with the carrier Tu-95MS at the beginning of October 1998 in Akhtubinsk. Also some sources indicate that the test missile launches were conducted in 1999 and in April 2000, during the exercise of the 37th Air Army Russia. Flight tests of the Kh-101 Ahtubinsk continued in 2002.
By late 2000 very few details had emerged concerning either program, neither of which appeared to have received Western designations. Based on the reported association between the Kh-55 and the Kh-65, it is probably the case that the Kh-101 is a derivative of the previous Kh-55.
In March 2000 it was reported that the Russian Air Force had tested a new cruise missile with a conventional warhead. It was said to be a Kh-555 missile, which was developed from the Kh-55, with a range of 2000 - 3000 km. The relationship between the Kh-555 and the Kh-101, with evidently similar characteristics, is unclear. As of early 2005 it appeared that the development of the Kh-101 had been suspended in favor of the Kh-555 program.
The decision to start serial production of the X-101 missiles made in October 1999. In the fall of 1999 as planned to begin retrofitting vehicles by type of aircraft Tu-95MSM. According to Western reports, mass production of missiles launched at the plant in Smolensk December 1, 2002 In our opinion, as of 2010 the Kh-101 and Kh-102 has not yet been adopted by the Air Force of Russia and is likely to pass the test. Previously unconfirmed information on the adoption of missiles into service in 1999 and in 2002-2003 under the name "article 111" is taken from Jane's source - there are doubts about its authenticity.
On March 20, 2012, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in a speech at the enlarged meeting of the Ministry of Defense said that the Russian armed forces were armed with a new cruise missile air-launched long-range. Admission missiles X-101 in the Russian Air Force was expected in 2013, and probably was started in 2013.
Russia's new, never before publicly exhibited cruise missile was spotted on the footage which showed strategic bombers flying their first ever attack missions in Syria 17 November 2015, reports in Russian media suggest. The missile was believed to be the unique long-range Raduga Kh-101. The stealthy airborne Kh-101, in development until recently, was said to be already in service with the Russian Air Force. the Kh-101 could have been launched from Russian territory and hit targets in Syria but land-based launching systems for the new missile have not been developed yet.
The missile is one of the newest and most technologically sophisticated weapons which made their debut in Syria. It was first used in combat on November 17, 2015 as part of Russia's limited aerial campaign aimed at helping Damascus destroy radical groups trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. The operation also marked the first time that the Tu-160 and the Tu-95 took part in a combat operation. The Tu-160 unleashed a total of 32 Kh-101 missiles on militant targets on November 19-20, 2015. Two Kh-101 missiles were also used to strike Daesh targets near the cities of Idlib and Homs on November 17, 2016. The Russian Aerospace Forces sent the time-tested Tupolev Tu-95 (Bear) strategic bombers on 19 February 2017 equipped with the Raduga Kh-101 to destroy Daesh targets near the city of Raqqa, the so-called capital of the terrorist group in Syria.
Russia's Defense Ministry said 05 July 2017 a group of Russian Tu-95MS (Bear-F) strategic bombers delivered earlier in the day an airstrike against Daesh terrorist organization (banned in Russia) targets in Syria using Kh-101 missiles.
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