Marking the 68th birthday of President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Navy successfully conducted another test-firing of the hypersonic Zircon cruise missile, capable of achieving speeds of Mach 8.
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According to the sources, the missile was launched from Admiral Gorshkov, which is the newest class of frigates in the Russian Navy. The test launch took place on 6th October, which was followed by a video release from the Defense Ministry the next day.
Briefing Putin on the test-firing, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, and first Deputy Defence Minister Valery Gerasimov informed:
“Yesterday at 0715 hours from the White Sea, frigate Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov, as part of flight tests, for the first time fired a Zircon hypersonic cruise missile at a sea target located in the Barents Sea.
Start-up tasks completed. The shooting was recognized as successful. A direct hit of the missile on the target was recorded. The missile’s flight range was 450 kilometers, the maximum altitude was 28 kilometers. The flight time is four and a half minutes. Achieved hypersonic speed over Mach 8.”
The NOTAM for this area was issued for the period October 5th to October 9th, consistent with the test.
The Zircon is currently one of the only few hypersonic surface-to-surface cruise missiles in production, and the only one to be in the final stages of formal induction. Primarily designed as an anti-ship missile, it can achieve speeds of Mach 8 or 9800 kilometers per hour.
Being a hypersonic vehicle, the missile would be virtually immune to any existing air defence system and can be launched from surface-based platforms, mainly ships and submarines.
It was earlier tested via the same Admiral Gorshkov frigate in January earlier this year from the Barents Sea when it successfully hit a ground target in excess of 500 kilometers in Northern Urals.
According to some analysts, the Zircon could prove to be a vital step in learning the know-how to develop the hypersonic BrahMos-II missile, which would equip the Indian and Russian Navies in the future.
Last month, India also conducted another successful flight test of the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV)- and also the hypersonic nuclear-capable missile “Shaurya” on October 3rd.
The Russian-India partnership on aerospace technologies has proved to be vital in developing many platforms and equipment, most notable of which is the BrahMos missile family.
The Russian Navy is currently holding live-fire drills in the Black Sea, the latest of which a simulation was carried out to eliminate incoming enemy missiles using shipborne Shtil-1 Air Defense systems, after which a notional enemy warship was destroyed using Kalibr anti-ship missiles, TASS reported.