MOSCOW, December 24. /TASS/. Russia is carrying out work on developing the land-based version of the Tsirkon sea-launched hypersonic missile, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with the top brass on Tuesday.
"Our work on other systems is proceeding according to plan: on the Sarmat enhanced-yield intercontinental ballistic missile, on the Tsirkon hypersonic missile in its land-based and sea-launched versions, on the Poseidon intercontinental-range underwater drone and on the Burevestnik global-range nuclear-powered cruise missile," Putin stated.
A unique situation has emerged for the first time in history in the sphere of strategic balance: Russia has for the first time come ahead of the United States in developing the latest armament, the Russian president stressed.
"It was the United States that created the atomic bomb and the Soviet Union was only catching up with it. We also lacked delivery vehicles, nuclear weapon carriers and strategic aviation: the Soviet Union was only catching up. The first intercontinental missiles were not developed in our country either: the Soviet Union was just catching up. But today a unique situation has emerged: they are catching up with us," the president stated.
Russia previously made no announcements on the work to develop the land-based version of the Tsirkon hypersonic missile.
Tsirkon hypersonic missile
In his State-of-the-Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on February 20, Russian President Putin said that the work on the Tsirkon hypersonic missile was proceeding as scheduled. As the Russian leader reported, the Tsirkon is capable of developing a speed of Mach 9 and its striking range capability can exceed 1,000 km. The Russian leader added that the Tsirkon could hit both naval and ground targets. Experts say the Tsirkon hypersonic missile cannot be intercepted by any existing air defense capabilities.
A source in the defense industry told TASS in late 2018 that more than ten Tsirkon launches had been carried out against naval targets at distances of several hundred kilometers since the start of the missile’s trials. According to media reports, the missile firings from a sea platform were conducted in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Russian warships and submarines currently armed with Kalibr or Oniks cruise missiles are expected to carry Tsirkon hypersonic weapons. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said on November 8 there were plans to deploy Tsirkon missiles on the frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov currently undergoing modernization and on the Project 949A multi-purpose nuclear-powered submarine Irkutsk. Before that, Russian President Putin informed that the corvette Gremyashchiy might be armed with Tsirkon hypersonic missiles.