Russia’s Zircon (Tsirkon) hypersonic missile is expected to undergo state trials involving its launch from a frigate and a submarine in August 2021.
"The first launch from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate within the state trials is planned for the first part of August. The second part of August will see flight trials of Zircon from the Severodvinsk nuclear submarine," a source in the military-industrial complex was quoted as saying by TASS on Sunday.
According to the source, the Severodvinsk will perform the first launch from a surface position, firing at a surface target. Another source told TASS that the Admiral Gorshkov will perform 4 launches.
TASS had reported in March that Zircon’s flight trials from Admiral Gorshkov had been completed. A total of four launches were reportedly made.
The NPO Mashinostroyeniya, the developer and producer of Zircon missiles, refrained from commenting on the present nor previous accounts of these tests.
The Russian Navy’s Admiral Golovko, its third Project 22350 (Admiral Gorshkov) frigate, is expected to become the first warship to be equipped with Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had stated in 2019 that the Zircon is capable of Mach 9 speed and its striking range capability can exceed 1,000 km and that there were plans to deploy Zircon on warships built for launching Kalibr cruise missiles.
The Tsirkon (Zircon) 3M-22 hypersonic missile was designed by NPO-machinostroeniya in Reutov in the Moscow region. It is a part of the 3K-22 (Zircon code) complex which NATO reports as SS-N-33. The missile can develop a speed of Mach 9 and fly at an altitude of 30-40 km where the range and speed increase as air resistance is smaller. Experts estimate the payload at 300-400 kg and the missile length at 8-10 meters. The missile is to be fired from universal vertical launchers 3S-14 on warships and submarines and from Bastion mobile coastal missile launchers.
Project 22350 frigates are multifunctional warships capable of effectively fighting surface, air, and underwater adversaries, as well as striking ground targets at a distance of over 1,500km.