Russian Navy Severodvinsk Nuclear-powered Submarine Test Fires Zircon Hypersonic Missile
Russian Navy Severodvinsk Nuclear-powered Submarine Test Fires Zircon Hypersonic Missile

Russian Navy Severodvinsk Nuclear-powered Submarine Test Fires Zircon Hypersonic Missile


The Russian Navy Northern Fleet’s Severodvinsk nuclear-powered submarine has successfully conducted its first test launch of the Zircon hypersonic missile in the Barents Sea. According to objective control’s data, the missile’s trajectory matched the set parameters and it hit the hypothetical target. The second test firing of the hypersonic cruise missile Zircon was carried out by the crew of the nuclear submarine missile cruiser Severodvinsk for the first time from an underwater position, from a depth of 40 meters, in the waters of the White Sea at a conditional sea target in the Barents Sea.

The trial launch of the Tsirkon missile from the nuclear-powered submarine was deemed successful. The Tsirkon missile’s launch was conducted from the water surface position. Depending on the outcome, the second launch from the underwater position at a sea target is being planned for November. On July 19, it was reported that the Project 22350 lead frigate Admiral Gorshkov had successfully launched the Tsirkon hypersonic missile at a land target at a speed of Mach 7 and at a distance beyond 350 kilometers. The frigate launched the missile from the waters of the White Sea. The land target was located on the coast of the Barents Sea.

The crew of the nuclear submarine missile cruiser Severodvinsk successfully completed the second test launch of the hypersonic cruise missile Zircon. (Photo by Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation)

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.

K-560 Severodvinsk is a Yasen class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine of the Russian Navy, and the lead vessel of the class. The submarine is named after the city of Severodvinsk. The Yasen-class nuclear submarines are presumed to be armed with land-attack cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine missiles including the P-800 Oniks SLCM, Kalibr family SLCM or 3M51 SLCM. Kalibr-PL has several variants including the 3M54K (terminal-supersonic) and 3M54K1 (subsonic) anti-ship, 91R1 anti-submarine, and the 3M14K land-attack variant. In the future, there will be also an option to install the hypersonic 3M22 Zircon cruise missiles on upgraded 855M boats. It will also have ten 533 mm tubes, as well as mines and anti-submarine missiles such as the RPK-7.