Russia Claims Hypersonic Missile Test Successfully Hit Target 450km Away
The Zircon, or Tsirkon, was launched from a frigate in the White Sea by Admiral Gorshkov, hitting a target in the Barents Sea, according to the Russian Defence Ministry.
The hypersonic cruise missile is designed to be used against ships or land-based targets and will enter production in 2021, commencing service the following year.
The Mach 8 missile can reportedly travel at speeds of up to 6,000mph and has been described by President Vladimir Putin as 'truly unparalleled in the world'.
According to Russian News Agency TASS, the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement: "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.
"According to the recording data, the Tsirkon hypersonic anti-ship missile successfully struck a sea target at a distance of 450km.
"In its flight, the missile developed a speed of over Mach 8."
The Tsirkon program began in 2011 and entered the active testing stage in 2015, before being unveiled by Putin as part of a new generation of advanced weaponry in 2018, according to The Moscow Times.
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In September, a senior British defence intelligence chief claimed Russia has developed a new type of missile that could fly around the globe for years before delivering a tactical nuclear strike at any time.
It's called the 9M730 Burevestnik missile, but NATO has decided to nickname it 'Skyfall' because, well, it falls from the sky.
To be fair, that's the modus operandi of most missiles, but whatever.
This particular weapon has been linked to the deaths of five scientists after an accident in Nyonoksa, in north eastern Russia, last year.
That incident caused a radiation spike that was 'one thousand times higher than lethal' when it occurred last August.
Speaking at a media briefing, Britain's Chief of Defence Intelligence, Lieutenant General Jim Hockenhull said: "Moscow is testing a subsonic nuclear-powered cruise missile system which has global reach and would allow attack from unexpected directions."
Hockenhall also stated that Russia has been investing in submarines and other underwater capabilities, including an unmanned craft that could be capable of 'delivering a nuclear payload to coastal targets, or even carrier groups at sea'.
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