All news

Russia’s top brass to test-launch Tsirkon hypersonic missile from submarine — source

The hypersonic missile’s firings are planned from the submerged position from the submarine Severodvinsk

MOSCOW, March 11. /TASS/. Russia plans to test-launch the Tsirkon hypersonic missile from the Project 885 Yasen-class lead submarine Severodvinsk as part of its trials after several launches from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, a source in the domestic defense industry told TASS on Wednesday.

"As part of the continued state trials of the Tsirkon shipborne missile system, the hypersonic missile’s firings are planned from the submerged position from the submarine Severodvinsk," the source said.

The Tsirkon hypersonic missile was initially planned to be test-launched from the improved Project 885M Yasen-M lead submarine Kazan but these plans were revised due to the sub’s longer-than-expected trials.

The source did not specify the date of the hypersonic missile’s test-launch from the Severodvinsk, noting, however, that "before that, 3-4 firings from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov will be conducted."

TASS has no official confirmation of this information.

The Tsirkon hypersonic missile was for the first time test-fired from a ship in early January this year. The frigate Admiral Gorshkov test-launched the missile from the Barents Sea to a range of over 500 km against a coastal target.

Tsirkon hypersonic missile

In early 2011, then-Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin announced plans to develop the Tsirkon shipborne system with the hypersonic missile. According to media reports, the missile’s flight tests began in 2015. By late 2018, more than ten test-launches had been conducted, according to the data of a TASS source.

In his State-of-the-Nation Address to the Federal Assembly in February 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the work on the Tsirkon hypersonic missile was proceeding as scheduled. As the Russian leader said, the Tsirkon is capable of developing a speed of Mach 9 and its striking range capability can exceed 1,000 km. The Russian leader also said that the Tsirkon could strike both naval and ground targets. Putin specified at the time that there were plans to deploy Tsirkon on serial-produced surface ships and submarines, including the warships built or under construction for Kalibr cruise missiles.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said in November 2019 that 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. In December 2019, Head of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation Alexei Rakhmanov said that it would be possible to deploy Tsirkon hypersonic missiles on all Russian ships of new Projects.

The ZS-14 universal shipborne launching system is used for Tsirkon missile launches. These launchers are installed, in particular, on Project 22350 frigates, Project 20380 corvettes and on Yasen-class multipurpose submarines.