Russia’s Coastal Defense System Can Now Launch Ship-Based Hypersonics: UK Intel

The Russian military possibly launched a Zircon hypersonic missile in Ukraine from a land-based coastal defense system last week, according to UK defense intelligence.

The absence of a vessel known to carry the missile, initially developed for the Russian Navy, raises questions about its launch, according to the intelligence.

“It is likely the Russian land-based K-300 coastal defense system has been adapted for this purpose,” it added.

“If its use is confirmed, this would present a significant challenge to Ukrainian air defense due to its speed and maneuverability.”

Russia Demonstrated Capability

The Zircon’s deployment in an operational environment was to “provide assurance and demonstrate capability,” the intelligence said.

Russia said it successfully tested the missile from a naval vessel in May 2022.

It has a reported range of 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) and a speed of Mach 9.

Zircon Attack

Earlier, the Kyiv Scientific-Research Institute for Forensic Examinations confirmed the missile’s identity following a preliminary analysis of its fragments.

Five people were killed and buildings were damaged in the February 7 missile attack on Kyiv.

“Markings on the parts and fragments, the identification of components and parts, and the features of the relevant type of weapon” point to the first-ever use of the Zircon in combat, CNN quoted the government-run institute as saying.

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