The tests of the Zircon hypersonic missile, which Russian President Vladimir Putin “took out of the storeroom” a year and a half ago, are being successfully completed.

The Defense Ministry said that the rocket was launched at sea – from the frigate “Admiral Gorshkov”. The unique characteristics of super-weapons have been confirmed, according to the military.

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation announced the successful completion of the tests of the Zircon hypersonic missile. The military department said in a statement that the test launches were carried out from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov.

“The launches confirmed the unique tactical and technical characteristics of this missile in terms of range and accuracy of fire, as well as hypersonic speed,” the military noted.

In addition, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported on the parallel tests of an unmanned nuclear submarine with Poseidon vehicles.

The Zircon missiles, which are being developed and produced by NPO Mashinostroeniya in Reutov, are planned to arm the frigates of Project 22350 (including Admiral Gorshkov) and nuclear submarines of Project 885 / 885M Yasen.

On February 20, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin in his message to the Federal Assembly announced the newest Zircon hypersonic missile.

“So we’ll tell you little by little what we have in the storeroom. So, about one more promising novelty, work on which is going on successfully, and will certainly be completed on schedule, namely, I want to say about the Zircon hypersonic rocket,” the president said. The Supreme Commander also noted that the Zircon’s speed reaches 9 Mach numbers, it is capable of hitting targets at a distance of more than 1000 km.

The potential of “Zircon” was highly appreciated overseas – missiles pose a threat to the US Navy, since they are almost impossible to intercept, the National Interest wrote earlier. “The weapon itself is very maneuverable. Using interceptors to stop a hypersonic missile is like trying to shoot down a bullet with a bullet,” the report says.

In December 2019, the American television channel CNBC, citing a report from the American intelligence community, released a detailed material about the new Russian Zircon missile. American intelligence assumes, the report says, that these missiles will begin to be produced in 2021, and that the Zircon will enter service with the Russian Navy no earlier than 2022.

The United States is now unable to effectively resist this missile, sources in the American security forces admit. In addition, the British tabloid Daily Mirror published an article stating that the Zircon poses a threat to the Royal Navy and that this weapon is capable of shaking up the balance of power in the international arena.

The newest weapon entails the creation of counterparts abroad and countermeasures. Russia is developing “counter-hypersonic” weapons. “It will appear. But I think that we will be able to pleasantly surprise our partners with the fact that when they have these weapons, with a high degree of probability, we will have a means of fighting these weapons,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At the same time, in the West, the potential of Russian weapons is criticized. Foreign Policy believes that Russia’s hypersonic weapons “targeting the US” may “bark more than bite.”

FP magazine notes that after years of Western sanctions and faint hopes for economic growth, Russia’s latest hypersonic weapons are partly serving domestic agenda goals.

In February 2019, Russian TV presenter Dmitry Kiselev, on the air of the Vesti Nedeli program, singled out several “targets” in America to destroy them with the help of “Zircons”. According to his calculations, the missiles could reach “decision-making centers” in the United States in less than five minutes.

However, the American media immediately pointed out errors in Kiselev’s plot: at least two of the targets he named were already closed. In particular, the TV presenter listed among other “decision-making centers” the Fort Ritchie training center in Maryland, abandoned in 1998, and the McClellan Californian Air Force base, which was closed in 2001.

And at the same time, the Pentagon asked the American taxpayers for even more money to develop hypersonic weapons. The Donald Trump administration has decided to increase the research budget by several billion dollars.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained that Russia will respond to any threat from the enemy in a mirror image. “When the president said that if our country is threatened and short- and medium-range missiles are deployed near its borders, which will be aimed at us, then we will have to act in a mirror-like manner,” he said.

The article was first published in bulgarianmilitary.com. 

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