Russia Northern Fleet’s frigate Admiral Gorshkov successfully test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic missile from the White Sea against a sea target at a distance of 450 km, Chief of Russia’s General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov reported to President Vladimir Putin via a video conference on 7th October.
“Yesterday, at 7:15 a.m., the frigate Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov test-fired for the first time a Tsirkon hypersonic missile against a sea target located in the Barents Sea as part of flight tests,” the general said.
As the chief of Russia’s General Staff said, “the tasks of the launch were fulfilled, the test-fire was recognized as successful and the missile was registered to accurately hit the target.”
“The missile flew to a range of 450 km, climbing to a maximum altitude of 28 km. The flight lasted four and a half minutes. The missile gained a hypersonic speed of over Mach 8 [eight times the speed of sound],” Gerasimov said.
After the state trials are over, the Tsirkon hypersonic missile system will be adopted for service on Russian Navy submarines and surface ships, he stressed.
Tsirkon hypersonic missile
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 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 that 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.
Russia’s Defense Ministry plans to continue the flight tests of the Tsirkon shipborne hypersonic missile system, Chief of the Russian General Staff Army General Gerasimov said.