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Russia includes hypersonic missile deployment on Navy’s warships in new armament plan

December 19, 2017, 14:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian Navy operates five Project 20380 corvettes and another five are under construction

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© Russian Defense Ministry Press and Information Office/TASS

MOSCOW, December 19. /TASS/. The deployment of Tsirkon new anti-ship hypersonic cruise missiles on the Russian Navy’s corvettes and frigates is envisaged by Russia’s state armament plan for 2018-2027, a source in the country’s defense industry told TASS on Tuesday.

"The naval component of the new state armament plan prioritizes building Project 20385 and 20386 corvettes and Project 23350 and 23350M frigates with precision weapons that include Kalibr-NK cruise missiles and Tsirkon hypersonic missiles," the source said.

TASS does not yet have an official confirmation of this information.

The Russian Navy operates five Project 20380 corvettes and another five are under construction. Russian shipbuilders have laid down two corvettes of the modernized Project 20385 and a corvette of Project 20386. Possibly, the order for these warships will be increased and their construction will begin at the Yantar Shipyard in the western Kaliningrad Region (currently, the corvettes are under construction at the St. Petersburg-based Northern Wharf Shipyard and the Amur Shipyard in the Far East), the source said.

Four Project 22350 frigates under construction at the Northern Wharf Shipyard are at various stages of their readiness.

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced in April that the new state armament program "sets the task of completing the development of principally new types of hypersonic weapons and delivering them to the troops." Russian senator and former commander of Russia’s Aerospace Force Viktor Bondarev said in late November that Russia possessed Tsirkon hypersonic missiles.

Russia’s new state armament plan stipulates allocating 19 trillion rubles ($324 billion) for weapons deliveries and 1 trillion rubles ($17 billion) for synchronizing these efforts. The new state armament plan prioritizes developing nuclear deterrence forces and delivering precision weapons to the troops.

According to the data available as of December 18, the program’s final version had not yet been submitted to Russian President Vladimir Putin for signing.

Tsirkon missiles

As another source in the Russian defense industry told TASS earlier, Tsirkon missiles can be launched with the help of a universal shipborne platform with ZS-14 launchers that are also used for Kalibr and Oniks missiles. Precisely this platform is mounted on Project 20380 corvettes and Project 22350 frigates.

According to public data, the Tsirkon has a firing range of about 400 km and its maximum speed is indicated in the range of 4-6 Mach.

As a source in the defense industry told TASS, the Tsirkon missile reached a speed of 8 Mach during flight tests in April.

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