Russia tests new hypersonic cruise missile

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Moscow, March 17 (IANS) Russia launched its first tests of the new hypersonic Zircon anti-ship cruise missile, local media said on Thursday.

“The tests of the hypersonic Zircon missile have begun using a ground-based launching site,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted an unnamed high-profile defence industry source as saying.

The characteristics of the new missile are classified, but according to the Russian state news agency Tass, the new missile range may be up to 400 km and is capable of flying at least five times faster than the speed of sound.

Russia’s nuclear-powered battle cruiser in operation Pyotr Veliky, also the world’s largest surface combatant warship, will be deployed with Zircon missiles in a 2019-2022 upgrade, Tass reported.

Another Russian Kirov class nuclear-powered battle cruiser Admiral Nakhimov was also expected to be armed with Zircon missiles after it finishes refit and rejoins the Russian Navy in 2018.

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The missile, also known as the 3M22, has been designed by Military Industrial Corporation NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM), one of the leading aerospace enterprises in Russia, according to NPOM’s website.

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