Amidst tensions with Ukraine, Russian Zirkon hypersonic missile was launched in a salvo of several missiles incresing its potential to destroy highly protected enemy formations such as aircraft carrier battle groups.
“A salvo launch of the Zircon hypersonic system was carried out tonight or this morning,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a joint meeting of the State Council and the Council for Science and Education on Friday. “The tests were carried out successfully, flawlessly,” Putin added.
According to him, “this is a great event in the life of the country and a significant step in improving Russia’s security, in increasing its defense capability.”
A Salvo launch- meaning multiple missiles aimed at different targets- or the same high value target- have the ability to penetrate the most elaborate air defences. A Zirkon missile, traveling at Mach 8 or 9 is claimed to penetrate the detection system of the American PATRIOT anti-missile system.
Speaking about the Zirkon launch in salvo, military expert Viktor Murakhovsky said in an interview with Zvezda TV, “it is much easier to shoot down a single missile, and when a salvo launch is made from one carrier or a massive launch from several carriers, the break up of the air defense and missile defense system (of the enemy) is a completely solvable task.”
The Russian military had reported on the successful test launch of the Zircon on December 16 from the Northern Fleet frigate Admiral Gorshkov as part of the completion of the cycle of tests of hypersonic missile weapons.
On October 4, the Russian military conducted the first test launch of the Zircon hypersonic missile from a submarine.
On August 24, at the Army-2021 forum, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation announced the signing of a contract for the supply of new Zircon hypersonic sea missiles with Tactical Missile Armament Corporation, KTRV.
In February 2019, in a message to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Zircon missile would be capable of hitting ground and surface targets at a range of over 1,000 kilometers at a speed of about Mach 9.
“There is a weapons program that is administered by the General Staff. We are the performers in this program. If we are given such a command, we are ready for this,” Korolev said, answering a question about the possibility of starting serial equipping of Zircon ships in 2022.
In October, the former chief of the General Staff of the Russian Navy, Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, told Interfax that the Zircon would significantly strengthen the potential of the Russian fleet. “The speed characteristics of the rocket are beyond doubt. No one has protection from Zircon.”