A Russian warship conducted a simulated hypersonic missile strike on a mock enemy ship in the Atlantic Ocean, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday.
In the training exercise, the Admiral Gorshkov frigate ran a computer simulation plotting out the use of the Zircon hypersonic missile against a target 900 km away.
The warship was deployed to the Atlantic Ocean in January, and the equipping of the Zircon cruise missile is the first time the hypersonic weapon has seen active duty.
The Zircon is Russia's newest hypersonic missile. It was planned in both maritime and air-launched variants, but production restrictions prompted a focus on the naval system. Russia already possesses an air-launched hypersonic cruise missile, the Kinzhal, which was reportedly used against a Ukrainian military position in March. A mobile ground launcher for the weapon was reportedly being developed, TASS reported in early November.
"A ship armed with Zircons is capable of inflicting pinpoint powerful strikes against any enemy targets at sea and on land," The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday. "At the same time, a feature of the Zircon hypersonic missiles is the ability to reliably overcome any modern and advanced air defense and missile defense systems."
Russia, China and the United States are racing to develop hypersonic weapons technologies and systems to foil their use. The US still does not have any hypersonic missiles in operation.
Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev threatened the United States of America in early January, referencing the placement of the missiles aboard the Admiral Gorshkov.
"The main gift of the New Year was the arsenal of Zircon missiles that went yesterday to the shores of NATO countries," said Medvedev. "Let it [Admiral Gorshkov] stand somewhere 100 miles from the coast, closer to the Potomac River."