Russian Hypersonic Missile Incapacitated Underground Bunker Designed to Store Nuclear Weapons

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  • 10:52 AM, March 21, 2022
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Russian Hypersonic Missile Incapacitated Underground Bunker Designed to Store Nuclear Weapons
Former Nuclear Weapons Storage Facility, Delyatyn, Ivano-Frankivsk region, Western Ukraine: GoogleMaps

Russia's first ever use in battle of its hypersonic missile called ‘Kinzal' (Dagger in Russian) on March 19 was intended to incapacitate a Soviet era bunker located several meters underground which was being used as a weapons and fuel storage facility by the Ukrainian Army.

Located in the village of Delyatyn, Ivano-Frankivsk region, Western Ukraine, it was one of four Central Nuclear Weapons Storage Bases built in the middle of the last century,  Russian publication, Tocor.ru reported.

Known under the names "Ivano-Frankivsk-16" or "Object 711," it is situated in the Carpathian mountains at a depth of several tens of meters underground. Presumably it is hardened enough to take the impact of a direct bomb or missile attack.

The underground facility continues to be used by the Ukrainian military as a heavily fortified ammunition depot; after the transfer of nuclear weapons from Delyatyn to Russia in 1993.

“Since 2018, the 108th and 109th mountain assault battalions of the 10th separate mountain assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been based there,” the report said. 

Russian Hypersonic Missile Incapacitated Underground Bunker Designed to Store Nuclear Weapons
Kinzal (Dagger) hypersonic missile strapped to a MiG-31 aircraft: Russian MoD

The anti-nuclear protection of the underground structure does not allow destroying the object with conventional ammunition. Nevertheless, the power of the "Dagger" (including its kinetic energy due to its enormous speed), with an accurate hit, can damage its entrance, ventilation ports, doors, partitions and other less protected portions rendering it inoperable.

It is not known if the ammunition kept inside the bunker was blown up. A video of the Kinzal hit released by the Russian MoD shows the point of impact and a little smoke. There is no large explosion or several blasts as would happen when stored ammunition is ignited.

Further information on whether the Kinzal worked as desired has not yet been released from the Russian MoD. The Ukrainian Army spoke of the incident in terms of human casualties- it listed a number of injured but no deaths from the Kinzal strike.

The Kinzal which can hit it targets at a speed of Mach 5- Mach 7 (compared to Mach 2 of cruise missiles) is Russia’s most expensive weapon. 

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