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Russian frigate to launch Tsirkon missile during international drills — source

The launch will take place as part of joint exercises with the South African and Chinese navies

MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. Russia’s Admiral Gorshkov frigate, which is currently on a long-distance training voyage, will perform a training launch of a Tsirkon hypersonic missile during a joint exercise with South African and Chinese navies, a source close to Russia’s defense industry has told TASS.

"During the upcoming exercise with the navies of South Africa and China, a training launch of a Tsirkon hypersonic missile will be carried out, to be the first-ever during an event of this kind," he said.

According to the official, the missile is to hit a surface target located at the distance of over 500 km.

TASS has been unable to officially confirm this information at the time of the publication.

The voyage of a task force comprising The Admiral Gorshkov frigate and medium class sea-going tanker The Kama began on January 4 under the command of Captain 1st Class Oleg Gladky, the commander the Northern Fleet’s division of missile ships.

On January 25, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the frigate had practiced a strike with a Tsirkon hypersonic missile on a sea target more than 900 kilometers away in the western part of the Atlantic. The Defense Ministry also said that a number of joint exercises are to be held off South Africa in February, jointly with the South African Navy and the Navy of the People's Liberation Army of China.

The Admiral Gorshkov is the lead multi-purpose frigate of project 22350 meant for operation in the blue water zone. Built at the Severnaya Verf shipyards (part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation), it joined the Russian Navy in July 2018.

The Tsirkon (Zircon) is Russia’s new generation hypersonic missile designed and manufactured by the Military-Industrial Corporation Research and Industrial Association of Machine Building (MIC NPO Mashinostroyenia, part of the Tactical Missile Weapons Corporation, KTRV) in Reutov, near Moscow.