Russia equips its fleet with hypersonic Zircon missiles    The

Russia equips its fleet with hypersonic Zircon missiles The

HANDOUT / AFP This handout video, released by the Russian Defense Ministry on October 4, 2021, shows the launch of a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile from the Severodvinsk nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea. – Russia said on October 1, 2021 it had launched a new hypersonic cruise missile from a submarine, the latest test of new weapons that President Vladimir Putin has described as “invincible”. Moscow has in recent years touted the development of weapons it hopes will give it an edge in any arms race with the United States at a time of rising tensions with the West. Hypersonic can travel at more than five times the speed of sound and can maneuver in mid-flight, making them much more difficult to track and intercept than traditional projectiles. The military said Monday it fired a Zircon missile from the Severodvinsk nuclear submarine and hit a test target in the Barents Sea in Russia’s Arctic. (Photo by Handout / Russian Defense Ministry / AFP) / LIMITED EDITORIAL USE ONLY – MANDATORY CREDIT ‘AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY’ – NO MARKETING – NO PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CUSTOMERS

HANDOUT / AFP

A video from the Russian Defense Ministry shows the launch of a Zircon missile in 2021.

RUSSIA – In the midst of the war in Ukraine, Russia is stocking up on its arsenal. The Russian fleet will acquire a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile “in the coming months,” President Vladimir Putin announced on Sunday, July 31. According to the Kremlin chief, this type of weapon is “invincible”.

The Russian fleet “is capable of inflicting a lightning reaction on anyone who decides to undermine our sovereignty and freedom,” Vladimir Putin assured during a naval parade in Saint Petersburg (northwest) attended by more than 40 ships and submarines and about 3,500 military personnel.

He stressed that its military equipment is “continuously being improved,” noting in particular the “state-of-the-art Zircon hypersonic missiles that know no obstacle.” “Their delivery to the Russian armed forces will begin in the coming months,” said the 69-year-old president.

Maximum range of 1,000 kilometers

With a maximum range of around 1,000 kilometers and a speed of almost 10,000 km/h, the Zircon cruise missiles, whose name refers to the highly resistant metal zirconium, belong to a family of new weapons developed by Russia. Their tests have been running since October 2020. Since then, other tests have taken place, notably by the frigate Admiral Gorchkov and by a submerged submarine.

According to Vladimir Putin, this very Admiral Gorchkov frigate will be the first Russian ship to be equipped with these missiles. It was used last May during a test firing by Zirkon in the Barents Sea at a target in the waters of the Arctic’s White Sea. The area of ​​​​operation of this ship is selected according to “Russia’s security interests”.

The Zircon is not the only missile deployed by Moscow. After launching the offensive in Ukraine on February 24, Russia announced in March that it had deployed hypersonic Kinjal missiles there, a weapon that appeared to be a novelty (barring tests). According to the Kremlin, they allowed the destruction of an underground weapons storage facility in western Ukraine, in the Mykolaiv region.

Zircon eludes enemy defenses

This highly maneuverable missile type is designed to challenge anti-aircraft systems. They reached all their targets at a distance of up to 1,000-2,000 km during the tests. They equip the MiG-31 fighter jets.

The Kinjal (“Dagger” in Russian) hypersonic ballistic missiles and Zircon cruise missiles are among a family of new weapons developed by Russia that its President Vladimir Putin has described as “invincible” for their ability to do so intended to evade enemy defense systems.

Among the other hypersonic missiles available to Russia is Avangard (“avant-garde” in Russian), capable of changing course and altitude at very high speeds. Successfully tested in December 2018, its speed then reached Mach 27 – 27 times the speed of sound – and hit a target about 6,000 km away, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. They entered service in December 2019.

Moscow also prides itself on having a heavy ballistic missile called the Sarmat. Weighing over 200 tons, it is more powerful than its predecessor – the Voevoda missile with a range of 11,000 km – and has “virtually no range limitation”, according to Vladimir Putin, who designed it, deems suitable “to be able to target.” “. Targets crossing both the North Pole and the South Pole”.

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