State trials of Russia’s Tsirkon hypersonic missile are expected to wrap up this year, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko stated on Tuesday.
His comments are in line with previous department statements, with Krivoruchko confirming in January that Tsirkon tests would be completed this year and test-fired from submarines.
The Tsirkon hypersonic missile, as confirmed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, is able to fly at Mach 9, or around 11,113 kph (6,905 mph). It can destroy land and sea targets at a distance of up to 1,000 km (621.37 mi).
Once tests are completed and the missile has passed all trials, Russia intends to equip its surface ships and submarines with the hypersonic missile systems.
Russian Hypersonic Weapons
Earlier this month, Vladimir Zarudnitsky, chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Military Academy, revealed that Russia is developing the Kh-95, a long-range hypersonic missile that can be air-launched.
“Today, supremacy in aerospace is a vital condition for ground and naval groupings of troops to conduct combat operations successfully,” Zarudnitsky said.
For this purpose, Russia is “developing and accepting such advanced and upgraded armaments, military and special hardware for service in its Aerospace Force,” he added.
Following a trial in July, in which Moscow carried out a successful test of its Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Russia’s new hypersonic missiles “are potentially destabilizing and pose significant risks.”
Russia is not alone in the race for hypersonic weapons technology. China is developing its own versions, and the United States has entered the race as well.
Hypersonic missiles travel at speeds of Mach 5 to Mach 10 and can strike targets up to 1,500 km (932.05 mi) away, making them nearly impossible to intercept by enemy missile systems.