Perm sub carrying Zircon coming to Russia’s Pacific Fleet in 2026

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — The Russian Pacific Fleet will acquire the first regular submarine carrying the hypersonic Zircon missile in 2026. The submarine is the Yasen class submarine and is the 6th of the class. The submarine is called Perm and is from the 885M project. The Russian news agency TASS reports the news citing a source close to the Navy of the Russian Federation.

yasen-m submarine russia
Photo credit: Naval Post

Speaking to a TASS reporter, the source added that in the period 2024-2025, the Perm submarine will undergo several tests. Yasen-class Perm is a nuclear-powered submarine. reports that the Russian Navy’s Borei-class nuclear-powered strategic submarine cruiser Generalissimo Suvorov will begin testing in the coming months. This submarine, together with the Perm submarine, will be part of the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Federation. The Krasnoyarsk submarine, which is of the Ash-M class, will join the Pacific fleet. The Generalissimo Suvorov and Krasnoyarsk submarines are expected to be acquired by the Russian Pacific Fleet in 2023.

Russia announced two years ago that the construction of the Perm submarine will begin in 2021. According to the preliminary plan of the Ministry of Defense and the Russian Navy, Perm was supposed to enter service in the Pacific Fleet in 2024. However, construction of the submarine was delayed, thereby extending the acquisition date by an additional two years.

About Yasen-class submarine

Yasen-class submarines are nuclear-powered submarines. Their design dates back to the 1980s. The submarines of this class are supposed to replace several aging Soviet nuclear attack submarines.

On the surface, Yasen-class submarines move at 20 knots, while underwater in quiet mode, they reach 28 knots. In conventional underwater mode, submarines reach a speed of 35 knots. The maximum permissible depth to which the submarine can sail is 580 meters. The most suitable and safe depth of the submarine is 450 meters. The submarine will not be able to withstand the water pressure and will be crushed at a minimum depth of 658 meters.

Yasen-class submarines are equipped with 32 vertical launch silos. They will store and fire either Onyx anti-ship missiles or Kalibr anti-ship missiles. Additionally, they will be capable of launching land-attack submarine-launched cruise missiles.

About Zircon

The weapon that is of interest and turns the Perm submarine into a dangerous weapon is the scramjet-powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile Zircon. Currently, this missile is designed to be launched from ships and submarines. The Russian Federation is currently developing a version of the missile for a land-based missile system.

Zircon reaches targets at a maximum operational range of up to 1,000 km. However, the maximum firing range is about 1,500 km. The speed at which the missile flies is Mach 9 or 3.1 meters per second. Zircon flies at a maximum height of 28 km. The warhead that Zircon carries is the equivalent of >200 kt tnw nuclear. The warhead weighs between 300 kg and 400 kg.

On November 5, the Russian Federation announced that it had begun development of the hypersonic Zircon missile for launch from a ground-based launch system. It will be a missile system for the coast guard and according to Russian sources, it will be four-axle.

Zircon serial production

Series production of the Zircon was announced to begin in August this year. The news was announced by the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, Sergei Shoigu, during the Army-2022 Moscow Defense and Security Forum.

In early August, some Chinese media called Zircon an “absolute weapon”. According to reports in state-run Chinese media, Zirkon is a major trump card of Russian President Vladimir Putin. They [Chinese media] call Zirkon “virtually invulnerable to air defense systems”. Some go further in their comments, claiming that a Zirkonn attack could sink a US aircraft carrier within 30 minutes.


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