Hypersonic Missile Tsirkon Enters the Final Stage of State Trials, Serial Supply to Russian Navy to Begin in 2022

Defence Industry

Moscow: The serial supply of Tsirkon seaborne hypersonic cruise missile to the Russian Navy will begin this year as it is at the final stage of its state trials, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said.

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“The state trials of the Tsirkon seaborne hypersonic cruise missile are nearing completion. From 2022, its serial deliveries will begin,” he said.

Also, the upgraded Space-Echelon Western Command Post of Russia’s Single Space-based Missile Attack Early Warning System went on experimental combat alert in the fourth quarter of 2021, the deputy defence minister said.

Besides, a missile regiment of the Strategic Missile Force’s 13th division armed with the advanced Avangard strategic missile system went on combat alert in 2021, he added.

Sources said the hypersonic 3M-22 missile was designed by NPO-machinostroeniya in Reutov in the Moscow region. It is a part of the 3K-22 (Tsirkon code) complex which NATO reports as SS-N-33. The missile can develop a speed of Mach 9 and fly at an altitude of 30-40 km where the range and speed increase as air resistance is smaller. Experts estimate the payload at 300-400 kg and the missile length at 8-10 meters. Tsirkon is to be fired from universal vertical launchers 3S-14 on warships and submarines and from Bastion mobile coastal missile launchers.

The first-in-class frigate Admiral Gorshkov test-fired the Tsirkon (sometimes spelled Zirkon) hypersonic missile in January 2020. After the first ship borne test-fire, Russia carried out a bunch of live trials of the missile in 2020 and 2021. One of the most important milestones was launching Tsirkon from Yasen-class submarine K-560 Severodvinsk, which took place on October four, 2021.

Russian Navy deployed (or announced to deploy) Tsirkon missiles to Admiral Gorshkov-class and Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates, Gremyashchiy class corvettes, as well as Yasen-class submarines.