MOSCOW, (BM) – Russia is one step away from the serial production of the hypersonic Zircon rocket, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing information from Naked Science. Moscow hopes to launch state tests of the missile in mid-summer. Upon successful completion, the production lines will operate to arm the Russian fleet.
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According to preliminary information, one of the most heavily armed and large ships in the world “Admiral Nakhimov” will be among the first to receive the hypersonic weapon. Although the cruiser is currently in the renewal silos, its return in about two years will not prevent Russian plans to equip it with a hypersonic missile.
Ash class submarines are next on the list to be armed with Zircon. Ash class submarines are probably the most modern Russian submarines – fourth generation and multifunctional nuclear submarines. However, Russia is currently developing a project of Husky class submarines, which are of the fifth generation and, in years to come, will replace those of the Ash class.
The Zircon hypersonic rocket has already passed several tests. According to unconfirmed information, but quoted among the Russian media, in one of the flight tests, the missile reached a speed of Mach 8. This high speed is part of the main characteristic of the missile because, according to the specification, it must move with speed within Mach 8 and Mach 9.
The range is also wide range from a minimum distance of 400 km to a maximum of 1000 km. The Russians claim that the Zircon hypersonic missile will carry a warhead weighing up to 400 kg.
More information about the Ash class subspecies
The Russian Ash-class submarine is rarely mentioned in the international media. However, this class is hazardous, according to several NATO generals.
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U.S. Rear Admiral Dave Johnson says he ordered a mock-up of a submarine of this class in his office to remind him what he will have to deal with. According to him, the loss of a Russian submarine from the radar is a headache that can lead to death.
But why is this concern of this class of submarines? The admiral gives his explanation. “One of the advantages of Ash submarines is stealth. So, in 2018, when the Russian submarine was sailing in the Atlantic, we couldn’t find it for a few weeks. It’s all in a hull made of low-magnetic steel, which significantly reduces the magnetic signature of the submarine.”
What is supposed to be about Zircon?
Until Russian state tests pass to show the fundamental characteristics of the Zircon hypersonic missile, any information about its capabilities will be speculative. The only thing confirmed so far is that during one of the tests, the missile reached Mach 8.
If we proceed from this information, we can make assumptions about its characteristics. For example – at this speed, a target at a distance of 1000 km (if this feature is confirmed – ed.) Will be hit in between 7-9 minutes.
Reaching such a speed (Max 8) requires a serious launch, which means a much more significant amount of plasma cloud. The plasma cloud in this particular case can “cover” the missile to such an extent that the radars fail to detect it. Why is this possible? There are studies that this type of plasma cloud absorbs radio frequencies.
Could the Zircon missile be invisible to radar?
If based on the above claims about the plasma cloud around the rocket – yes.
In 2003, scientists Kline, J. L .; Balkey, M. M .; Keiter, P. A .; Scime, E. E .; Keesee, A. M .; Sun, X .; Hardin, R.; Compton, C .; Boivin, R. F .; Zintl, M. W published their work entitled Ion dynamics in helicon sources at http://scitation.aip.org.
The use of plasma as a type of radar countermeasure is explaining as follows: the plasma cloud can build up plasma “on the skin” of the object. Radioactive xenon nuclear poisons or polonium isotopes, when successfully suspended in generated plasma layers or doped in the vehicle body, can be used to reduce the cross-section of the radar by developing a plasma layer on the surface.
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