Russia’s Zircon hypersonic missile to be test-launched from underwater

The 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missile will undergo testing from aboard the K-560 Severodvinsk submarine, a source in the military industry has told Russian media. The Zircon anti-ship cruise missile capable of accelerating to speeds of up to 11,100 km.

The source did not mention a date when testing is expected to begin, but said it would take place once three-to-four more test launches from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate are completed. The test launch is expected to take place from an underwater firing position. The Russian military has not yet commented on the veracity of the reports.

The Zircon was test-launched from the Admiral Gorshkov in January in the Barents Sea, home to Russia’s Northern Fleet.

In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that a ground-based version of the Zircon was in development.

The Zircon is believed to have a flight range of over 1,000 km, and is expected to be based aboard both surface ships and submarines, including vessels equipped to carry existing Kalibr-class cruise missiles. The missile is also widely expected to be fitted aboard the new Husky class fifth-generation nuclear submarine presently in development.

Testing of the Zircon began in 2015, with nearly a dozen launches completed by 2018. President Putin mentioned the Zircon in his 2018 speech to Russia’s Federal Assembly as one of half-a-dozen strategic systems capable of evading US missile defences, and thus guaranteeing a Russian response capability.

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