The Russian Navy had successfully test-fired the 3M22 Zircon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile, Chief of Russia’s General Staff Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov informed President Vladimir Putin during a video conference on October 7.
Admiral Gorshkov frigate of the Navy’s Northern Fleet launched the new missile in the White Sea against a target at a distance of 450 km.
During the test firing the missile flew to a range of 450 km, climbing to a maximum altitude of 28 km. The flight lasted four minutes thirty seconds, during which the missile gained a hypersonic speed of over Mach 8.
“the tasks of the launch were fulfilled, the test-fire was recognized as successful and the missile was registered to accurately hit the target,” TASS quoted Gen. Gerasimov as saying during the video call.
President Putin called Zircon hypersonic missile’s successful test a “great event” for the country, praising those who worked on the project.
“The work on the Tsirkon system and the stage of carrying out a successful test of this missile is a major event not only for the Armed Forces but for entire Russia, the entire country because equipping our Armed Forces – the army and the fleet – with advanced weapons systems, which indeed have no rivals in the world, certainly ensures our state’s defense capacity for many years to come,” Putin said.
The 3M22 Zircon can travel at a speed of Mach 8–Mach 9. The missile’s average range is around 500 km. However, in a 2020 test, Ministry of Defense of Russia claimed that the missile’s range was estimated to be 1,000 – 2,000 km depending on the type of target.
The hypersonic missile poses a serious threat to the naval forces of Russia’s adversaries. The Russian Navy’s surface ships and submarines will be both armed with the missile.
The Zircon is one of many hypersonic weapons developed by Russia in the recent years. While many of these weapons have already entered service with the Russian military, other countries are still struggling to develop such systems.