Putin: Russia soon to deploy new naval hypersonic missiles

Russian media reported three days before Putin's comments that the Zircon missile would be put into service in September.

 A Russian Air Force MiG-31 fighter jet releases Kinzhal hypersonic missile during a drill in an unknown location in Russia, in this still image taken from video released February 19, 2022. (photo credit: RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
A Russian Air Force MiG-31 fighter jet releases Kinzhal hypersonic missile during a drill in an unknown location in Russia, in this still image taken from video released February 19, 2022.
(photo credit: RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

The Russian Navy will be equipped with its military's newest naval hypersonic missile in the coming months, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during the Navy Day parade in St. Petersberg on Sunday, state media reported.

The Zircon hypersonic missile was reported by TASS on Thursday to be expected to be put into service on surface ships as early as September. The first ship expected to receive the weapon is the Admiral Gorshkov frigate.

"State tests of the product have been completed, all documents for the adoption of the product into service have been prepared," a source in the military told TASS. "It is expected that in September the surface Zircon will be put into service with the fleet."

The weapon is also expected to be deployed on submarines, according to Russia Today television.

“This is a real killer of aircraft carriers."

Rear Admiral Mikhail Chekmasov

Russian media reported another test of the Zircon missile on Tuesday.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin walks past a TV camera during a parade marking Navy Day in Saint Petersburg, Russia July 31, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV)Russia's President Vladimir Putin walks past a TV camera during a parade marking Navy Day in Saint Petersburg, Russia July 31, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV)

Focus on naval weapon

The defense company producing the Zircon, NPO Mashinostroeniya, said on March 20 that it had a production backlog with the platform, and would be focusing on the naval version over the air-launched version of the missile.

"The customer made a decision at the first stage to intensify work on the creation of a marine version of the missile," company deputy general-director Anatoly Svintsov told TASS at the time. "For the air-launched version, we also have a big backlog. When the time comes, we will definitely continue this work, but for now, the country already has a hypersonic aviation missile — This is the Kinzhal missile."

Zircon hypersonic missile

The hypersonic aero-ballistic Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (Dagger) was reportedly used for the first time in combat in Ukraine on March 20, to strike a military fuel depot near the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv.

The Zircon is supposed to be able to reach speeds of Mach 10 (12,300 km/h; 7,610 mph; 3.4 km/s), and would be used as an anti-ship weapon and against ground targets. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a test in the Barents Sea in May saw the weapon strike a target in the White Sea from almost 1,000 kilometers away.

"It is expected that in September the surface Zircon will be put into service with the fleet."

Russian military source to TASS

“This is a real killer of aircraft carriers," Rear Admiral Mikhail Chekmasov told Russia Today. 

Russian military experts have touted the challenge that the fast and maneuverable weapons present to modern defense systems.

In late June, the US failed a hypersonic missile system test for the second time. US Defense Department budget proposals have projected that the US military will have its first ground-based hypersonic missiles in 2023, and naval hypersonic missiles by 2025.

Hypersonic missiles are projectiles that travel faster than Mach 5 (about 6,150 km/h).

Roman Meitav contributed to this report.