The Russian ministry of defense has announced its first underwater hypersonic missile test launch.
The nuclear submarine missile cruiser Severodvinsk test-fired the Tsirkon missile from a depth of 40 meters (131 feet) below the surface water, the ministry revealed on Monday.
“…the flight of the rocket from leaving the water to hitting the conditional target fully corresponded to the specified parameters,” the ministry stated, adding that the launch took place a couple of days after the submarine test-launched the missile “from a surface position.”
Frigate-Launched Tsirkon Tests
The development comes days after the TASS news agency revealed the completion of Tsirkon flight tests in July. The missile was launched 10 times from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov during the tests.
The outlet cited a source as saying that the next round of tests will take place from November through next year, leading to its induction into the armed forces. The Russian government is planning to equip both warships and submarines with the weapon.
Hypersonic missiles travel at a speed of Mach 5 or above and can strike targets up to 1,500 km (932 mi.) away, making them nearly impossible to intercept by missile defense systems. The Tsirkon has a reported speed of Mach 7.
Russia’s Hypersonic Edge
Russia is rapidly building its hypersonic missile capability and is considered to be ahead of the US. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov remarked last month that the country intends to “try to preserve this advantage.”
Chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Military Academy, Vladimir Zarudnitsky, revealed in August that Russia is also developing an air-launched long-range hypersonic missile, the Kh-95.
According to Sputnik, the Kh-95 will be deployed on “the modernized Tu-22M3M long-range bomber, the modernized Tu-160M strategic bomber and the Prospective Aviation Complex for Long-Range Aviation strategic bomber.”
State-backed outlet RIA Novosti revealed that a prototype of the missile has already been tested from an aircraft, citing a source.