Russia will speed up test launches of the hypersonic missile Zircon from naval ships: launches from submarines will begin in 2020 to proceed in parallel with launches from the frigate The Admiral Gorshkov, the TASS agency shared on 25th March.
“The schedule of the hypersonic missile’s test launches from naval ships will be tightened. The Yasen submarines will begin firing drills this year, alongside the continuing series of launches from The Admiral Gorshkov,” a source said.
Another source confirmed this saying that “the missile’s first tests will be carried out from the submarine The Severodvinsk. First, the submarine will launch the Tsirkon in the surface position. Neither source mentioned any dates.
The NPO Mashinostroyenia company (affiliated with the Tactical Missile Corporation), which reportedly designed the Zircon missile, has refrained from comment.
For the first time the Zircon was used from a ship at the beginning of January this year (according to other sources, at the end of December 2019). The Admiral Gorshkov launched the missile from the Barents Sea at a target on the coast 500 kilometers away. The frigate is expected to make another 3-4 launches of the Zircon by the end of this year.
The Northern Fleet’s commander, Vice-Admiral Alexander Moiseyev told the Russian daily Krasnaya Zvezda in an interview that the Northern Fleet’s submarines would conduct firing drills using hypersonic missiles soon.
Zircon Missile :
The plans for creating a hypersonic shipborne missile Zircon were unveiled at the beginning of 2011 by the Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin. The missile’s flight tests began in 2015. According to a TASS source, more than ten launches had been carried out by the end of 2018.
In his message to the Federal Assembly in February 2019 Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Zircon missile was capable of flying at a speed of Mach 9 and hitting surface targets on the sea and on the ground 1,000 kilometers away.
The Zircon is fired with the universal shipborne launcher 3S-14. Such launchers are installed on frigates of project 22350, corvettes of project 20380 and multirole submarines Yasen.