Russian frigate successfully test-launches Tsirkon hypersonic missile in White Sea

The missile struck a target at a distance of 450 km, according to the top brass

November 26. /TASS/. The Northern Fleet’s frigate Admiral Gorshkov successfully test-launched a Tsirkon hypersonic missile from the White Sea against a target in the Barents Sea, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on Thursday.

“The Project 22350 lead frigate Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov carried out the next test-launch of a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile from the White Sea against a complex target position in the Barents Sea,” the statement says.

The missile test-launch was carried out “as part of the trials of new weapons,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

The missile struck a target at a 450 km distance, developing a speed of over Mach 8, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Thursday. “According to the recording data, the Tsirkon hypersonic anti-ship missile successfully struck a sea target at a distance of 450 km,” the ministry said in a statement.

“In its flight, the missile developed a speed of over Mach 8,” the ministry stressed.

The frigate Admiral Gorshkov test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic missile for the first time in early October. The missile launched from the White Sea struck a sea target in the Barents Sea, flying at eight times the speed of sound at an altitude of 28 km.

In February 2011, then-Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin announced plans to develop the Tsirkon shipborne system with a hypersonic missile. According to media reports, the missile’s flight tests began in 2015.

In his State-of-the-Nation Address to the Federal Assembly in February 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the work on the Tsirkon hypersonic missile was proceeding as scheduled. As the Russian leader said, the Tsirkon was capable of developing a speed of about Mach 9 and its striking range capability could exceed 1,000 km. The Russian leader also said that the Tsirkon could strike both naval and ground targets. Putin specified at the time there were plans to deploy Tsirkon on serial-produced surface ships and submarines, including the warships built or under construction for Kalibr cruise missiles.

Russia uses the 3S-14 universal shipborne launcher for the launches of Tsirkon hypersonic weapons and Kalibr cruise missiles. These launchers, in particular, are operational on Russian Navy Project 22350 frigates and Project 20380 corvettes.