The Russian Navy has test-fired Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile from a nuclear-powered submarine for the first time.
The missile was tested only from a surface warship until now.
The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed on Monday that that the Navy fired a Tsirkon from its Severodvinsk nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea. The launch took place at night.
A source from the defense ministry told Russian state media that Tsirkon completed tests from the Navy’s Admiral Gorshkov frigate. On July 19, the ministry announced that the frigate Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov had successfully test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic missile at a ground target. The missile flew at Mach 7 (seven times the speed of sound) across a distance of over 350 km.
During Army-2021 Forum, Russia’s MoD signed a contract for the delivery of Tsirkon hypersonic missiles to the Russian troops. According to Alexander Leonov, CEO of NPO Mashinostroenia, it has to be fulfilled by 2025.
The Tsirkon 3M-22 hypersonic missile is a part of 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 m. The missile is to be fired from universal vertical launchers 3S-14 on warships and submarines and from Bastion mobile coastal missile launchers.