MOSCOW ($1=62.00 Russian Rubles) — A new coastal missile system will be produced in Russia. It is a hypersonic missile system with four launchers for launching the Tsirkon hypersonic missile. The prototype has already been developed, writes the state news agency TASS. According to the agency, the Tsirkon coastal missile system has a four-axle launcher and will carry two hypersonic missiles.
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The idea of a shore-based hypersonic missile system is not new. At the end of 2019, Moscow announced its intentions to develop such a weapon system. Then, this was announced by Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, on Christmas Eve. “We are working on a plan <…> on the Tsirkon hypersonic missile – ground and sea-based,” the Russian president said in his speech, quoted by Interfax.
However, the plans of the Russian Federation are changing again. There was information that Moscow plans to integrate the Tsirkon coastal missile defense at the end of this year. At least according to TASS sources, who reported this earlier in the year. However, now, most likely by the end of this year, and next year as well, Russia will conduct tests of the coastal missile system. Perhaps it will be at least half a year before the first Tsirkon coastal missile system takes combat duty.
Tsirkon and Bastion-P
The first battery of this coast guard is expected to be deployed in Crimea. Logical, considering that Russia is at war with Ukraine after Russian troops invaded Ukrainian territory on February 24. Currently, the main bulwark of the Russian Coast Guard is the Bastion system. Bastion is designed to counter surface ships, including carriers, convoys, and amphibious assault ships. TASS sources claim that Tsirkon, in the Coast Guard version, will be designed for land targets as well, in addition to naval targets.
The naval version of the Tsirkon missile entered service with the Russian Navy sometime in September of this year. The first receiver of this missile is the Admiral Gorshkov frigate of the Northern Fleet.
The naval version of the missile is already in serial production. Over the past two years, Russia has conducted several tests of the missile, through launches from warships in various seas. One of the key tests was at the end of last year, in December 2021, when, according to Mr. Putin, the missile conducted a salvo launch.
The naval version of the missile has a range of 1,000 km. This missile can fly at a maximum altitude of 28 km, and according to the specifications presented by Russia, the maximum speed reaches Mach 9 [6,900 mph; 11,000 km/h; 3.1 km/s].
Its warhead weighs between 300-400 kg. Except that it can be armed with a conventional warhead, ie. high explosive [HE], Tsirkon can carry a 200 kt tnw nuclear warhead. The naval version is in service not only in warships but is also part of the armament of some new Russian submarines.
Years ago, Mr. Putin announced to the world six “super weapons” of Russia. Zircon is one of the six announced super weapons. Russian experts say the missile can sink a US aircraft carrier and can evade the most sophisticated US air defense systems. Due to its enormous speed, the air pressure in front of the missile is said to create a plasma cloud that picks up radio waves, making it nearly invisible to radar systems.
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