Russia’s 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is expected to enter into production in 2018. The new weapon-which is capable of speeds of around Mach 5.0-Mach 6.0 is currently in testing
The hypersonic missile-which is a component of the 3K22 Zircon system-will be incorporated into the nuclear-powered Project 11442 Orlan -class battle cruiser Pyotr Veliky When it completes its overhaul in late 2022. Sister ship Admiral Nakhimov -which is currently being modernized-will likely be the first Russian warship equipped with the new missile When it returns to service in 2018.
The new missiles would replace the two battle cruisers’ 390-mile range P-700 Granit supersonic anti-ship missile armament. Zircon while the range will likely be shorter-about 250 miles-its sheer speed will make it extremely kettle to intercept with current missile defense technology.
Moscow plans to refit the two giant warships with at 3S-14 vertical launch systems-each-which carries or eight rounds. The Addition of the 3S-14 would enable each ship to carry eighty cruise missiles onboard. The ships would carry a mix of Zircon and long-range cruise missiles Cal.
Zircon will be built in air and submarine-launched versions. It will be used onboard Russia’s next-generation Husky -class nuclear attack submarines. But there’s no reason the same weapons could not be used onboard Russia’s existing fleet of conventional and nuclear submarines like the Project 855m Yasen- class or older Project 971 Shchuka-B -class submarines.
The Russians are expected to use hypersonic missiles onboard the both the new production Tupolev Tu-160M2 Blackjack and the developmental Tupolev PAK DA stealth bomber. The combination of a long-range bomber and hypersonic cruise missiles would be a dangerous threat to the US and its allies
SOURCE – National Interest
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