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Russia successfully test-fired for the first time a 3M22 Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile from a submarine on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. The missile is a key high-tech component, and President Vladimir Putin claimed it as a new generation of invincible weapon systems.
Hypersonic missiles are faster and more agile than the standard ones making them difficult to stop. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Tsirkon was launched from 131 feet deep Severodvinsk nuclear submarine and hit a test target in the Barents Sea.
In July, Tsirkon was test-fired from the ocean surface by a navy frigate. The missile can have nine times the speed of sound with a range of 620 miles.
Putin unveiled Tsirkon with other “unparalleled” weapons during the 2018 annual address to the nation. He boasted that this new weapon system could reach anywhere in the world and is capable of evading U.S. missile defenses.
Other projects disclosed at the time were the long-range nuclear-capable cruise missile Burevestnik, the air-launched Kinzhal nuclear-capable ballistic missile, and the Avangard hypersonic boost-glide vehicle.
Many Western experts questioned the production value and the capabilities of these developmental weapons, but the Russian military appears to be making progress.
In 2019, Russia officially added Avangard to their arsenal. A previous test of the Burevestnik prototype that NATO countries call the SSC-X-9 Skyfall was unsuccessful. It crashed in August 2019 during the secret engine test in Russia’s Arctic, killing five scientists.
According to Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, they expect to finish the Tsirkon tests by the end of this year. The missile will be commissioned by the Russian Navy in 2022 to arm cruisers, frigates, and submarines.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Sheena Robertson
CBS News: Russia claims 1st successful test launch of “Tsirkon” hypersonic missile from a submarine; by Mary Ilyushina
CNN: Russia test fires submarine-launched hypersonic Tsirkon missile for first time; by Reuters
Top and Featured Image by Joenomias ‘s Pixabay Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image by Bandanschik – Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License