Speaking to the president by video conference on Tuesday, chief of the Russian army’s general staff, Valery Gerasimov, said the launch of the Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile had been successfully carried out from the White Sea on Tuesday.
The Russian Defense Ministry also published a video of the launch, which shows a rocket starting up from an open launch container situated on the upper deck of the ship’s bow circling in the air and flying toward its target in the Barents Sea.
“The task was completed successfully, a direct hit was registered,” Gerasimov said. “The range of the flight reached 450 kilometers, maximum altitude totaled 28 kilometers, and the duration of the flight totaled 4.5 minutes.”
“The missile developed a speed of over Mach 8,” he added.
Putin praised the test-launch, describing it as an important event that contributes to the nation’s security.
“I would like to thank all of you for the work done, for its results, and express hope that in the future all of the specialists involved in the rearmament of the Russian military will [continue to] work as efficiently and as persistently as it has done to this point,” the president said during the video meeting with Gerasimov.
The Zircon hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile is expected to enter service in the coming years.
The testing of the missile began five years ago, with nearly a dozen launches completed by 2018. Back then, Putin mentioned the missile in an address to the Russian parliament, describing it as one of the main strategic systems capable of evading US missile defenses.
Hypersonic weapons can take missile and nuclear warfare to a new and stronger level since they can travel much faster than current ballistic and cruise missiles, at different altitudes, and with the maneuverability that makes them difficult to track and target with current missile defense systems.