Russia test-launches new hypersonic cruise missiles from frigate, submarine: Report – Russia has reportedly test-fired around 10 new Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles from a frigate and two more from a submarine as tensions between Moscow and the West escalate over Ukraine.
Russia’s Interfax news agency reported the development on Friday, citing sources from the country’s northern fleet. “Admiral Gorshkov successfully conducted a series of tests of the hypersonic Zirkon missile, a total of about 10 launches,” Interfax said, referring to the Russian frigate from which the missiles were launched.
“Severodvinsk, a Yasen class nuclear-power submarine, conducted two test firing of Zirkon missiles.”
Last week, Russia had confirmed that the military successfully fired a simultaneous salvo of its Zircon hypersonic missiles.
In recent years, Moscow has been touting the development of a new generation of weapons that would take the lead in any arms race with the US.
Russian President Vladimir Putin first revealed the development of the new hypersonic weapons in a state of the nation address in February 2019, saying the projectile would have a range of 1,000 km and a speed of 9 Mach, and would be able to hit targets both at sea and on land.
The testing of the missile began five years ago, with nearly a dozen launches completed by 2018.
In his address to the Russian parliament back then, Putin described the missile as one of the main strategic systems capable of reaching “almost any point in the world” and of evading the US-made missile shields.
Hypersonics can travel more than five times the speed of sound and maneuver in mid-flight, making them much harder to track and intercept than traditional projectiles.
The testing was conducted amid fresh confrontation between Russia and the West.
Tensions have been mounting in eastern Ukraine since November, when several Western media outlets reported that Russia had been amassing troops near the border with the objective of a large-scale military invasion of the country. Moscow denies the allegations, saying it is free to move its troops around within its own borders and that its military buildup is in response to increased NATO activity near its borders.
Russia says it does not seek an armed conflict with Ukraine but “has all the capabilities in place to ensure a full military and technical response to any kind of provocations that might unfold around us.”
President Putin has repeatedly warned the West against crossing the Kremlin’s red lines by staging military exercises in and sending lethal weaponry to Ukraine.
Moscow has already ordered some 10,000 servicemen who had gathered close to the Ukrainian border to return to their permanent bases.