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Russia to hold three more test launches of Tsirkon hypersonic missile by year-end

The three launches will involve real strike at sea or land targets, including those imitating aircraft carriers

MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/. The Admiral Gorshkov frigate of the Russian Northern Fleet (Project 22350) will carry out three more test-launches of Russia’s advanced Tsirkon hypersonic missile by the end of the year, two sources in Russia’s defense ministry have told TASS.

"As part of the ongoing flight trials of the Tsirkon hypersonic missile, three more test launches will be carried out by the Admiral Gorshkov frigate. The nearest launch will take place in late October - early November," the source said.

The other source confirmed this information, adding that "all the three launches will involve real strike at sea or land targets, including those imitating aircraft carriers or strategic facilities of a notional enemy."

The NPO Mashinostroyeniya rocket design bureau (part of the Tactical Missiles Corporation), tipped by the media as the rocket’s developer, declined to comment on the information when contacted by TASS.

On October 7, Chief of Russia’s General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov reported to President Vladimir Putin via a video conference that the Admiral Gorshkov successfully test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic missile from the White Sea against a sea target at a distance of 450 km in the Barents Sea on October 6. The missile flew to a range of 450 km, climbing to a maximum altitude of 28 km. The flight lasted four and a half minutes. The missile gained a hypersonic speed of over Mach 8, or eight times the speed of sound.


Tsirkon hypersonic missile

In February 2011, then-Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin announced plans to develop the Tsirkon shipborne system with a hypersonic missile. According to media reports, the missile’s flight tests began in 2015.

In his State-of-the-Nation Address to the Federal Assembly in February 2019, Russian President Putin said that the work on the Tsirkon hypersonic missile was proceeding as scheduled. As the Russian leader said, the Tsirkon was capable of developing a speed of about Mach 9 and its striking range capability could 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.

Russia uses the 3S-14 universal shipborne launcher for the launches of Tsirkon hypersonic weapons and Kalibr cruise missiles. These launchers, in particular, are operational on Russian Navy Project 22350 frigates and Project 20380 corvettes.