The Russian Navy Northern Fleet’s division Project 22350 lead frigate Admiral Gorshkov operational has deployed to the Barents Sea for test-launches of Tsirkon hypersonic missiles. In late 2020, the frigate Admiral Gorshkov also participated in the trials of Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missiles. During the trials, the warship performed several successful missile firings. After the combat exercises in the Barents Sea, the frigate will return to its home naval base of Severomorsk. The frigate Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov is among the Russian Navy Northern Fleet’s most advanced warships.
Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov is an Admiral Gorshkov class frigate of the Russian Navy and the lead ship of the class. She was laid down on 1 February 2006, launched on 29 October 2010 and was first expected to join the Russian Navy in November 2013. However, problems with delivery of the main naval gun, engine fire and testing of the ship’s Poliment-Redut air defence system delayed the commissioning date several times. She was finally commissioned on 28 July 2018 with the Russia’s Northern Fleet. The ship is named after Hero of the Soviet Union Sergey Gorshkov.
In early January 2020, Admiral Gorshkov test-launched the 3M22 Zircon hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile from the Barents Sea, as part of the missile’s state trials. This was the first time the Zircon was launched from a naval vessel. Additional launches of the Zircon missile took place in October, November and December. The Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov carried out the next test-launch of a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile from the White Sea against a complex target position in the Barents Sea. The missile struck a target at a 450 km distance, developing a speed of over Mach 8. All the tests have been successful.
The 3M22 Zircon also spelled as 3M22 Tsirkon (NATO reporting name: SS-N-33) is a scramjet powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile currently design by NPO Mashinostroyeniya. The missile’s range is estimated to be 135 to 270 nautical miles at low level, and up to 400 nautical miles in a semi-ballistic trajectory. A booster stage with solid-fuel engines accelerates it to supersonic speeds, after which a scramjet motor with liquid-fuel in the second stage accelerates it to hypersonic speeds. Zircon can travel at a speed of Mach 8–Mach 9. This has led to concerns that it could penetrate existing naval defense systems.