The Russian Navy Admiral Gorshkov frigate has successfully test-fired the Tsirkon hypersonic missile against a surface target at the range of over 350 km (217 miles) and the flight speed reached 7 Mach (8,643 kilometers per hour or 5,370 miles per hour). The target was located on the coast of the Barents Sea. Last year, the same frigate test-fired a Tsirkon missile for the first time, striking a ground target over 500 km away. Video footage distributed by the Defense Ministry showed the cruise missile at a target on the Barents Sea coast in northern Russia.
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 in testing by Russia. Zircon is believed to be a maneuvering, winged hypersonic cruise missile with a lift-generating center body. A booster stage with solid-fuel engines accelerates it to supersonic speeds, after which a scramjet motor with liquid-fuel (JP-10 Jet fuel) in the second stage accelerates it to hypersonic speeds. Zircon exchanges information in flight and can be controlled by commands if necessary.
The missile’s range is estimated to be 135 to 270 nautical miles (155 to 311 mi; 250 to 500 km) at low level, and up to 400 nmi (460 mi; 740 km) in a semi-ballistic trajectory; average range is around 400â€“450 km (250â€“280 mi; 220â€“240 nmi). The longest possible range is 540 nmi (620 mi; 1,000 km) and for this purpose a new fuel was created. Zircon can travel at a speed of Mach 8â€“Mach 9 (6,090â€“6,851 mph; 9,800â€“11,025 km/h; 2,722.3â€“3,062.6 m/s). This has led to concerns that it could penetrate existing naval defense systems.
Zircon will be first deployed with the Kirov-class battlecruisers Admiral Nakhimov and Pyotr Velikiy after 2020. The ships will have their P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles replaced with the 3S14 universal VLS cells capable of carrying the Oniks, Kalibr and Zircon anti-ship cruise missiles; each vessel is to be equipped with 72 such missiles. Other platforms are likely to include Russian Navy’s Admiral Grigorovich class and Admiral Gorshkov class frigates, Gremyashchiy class, Buyan class and Karakurt class corvettes, mainly due to the installation of the compatible 3S14 vertical launchers.