Russian Navy test-launch Tsirkon hypersonic missile from Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate

According to information published by the Russian press agency TASS on October 8, 2020, the Russian Navy carried out a successful test launch of a hypersonic missile Tsirkon from Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate against a sea target located in the Barents Sea.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001Russian Navy test launch hypersonic Tsirkon missile from Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate. (Picture source Russian MoD)

“The Admiral Gorshkov frigate deployed in the White Sea, for the first time fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile at a sea target in the Barents Sea. The goal has been achieved. The launch has been declared successful. The missile destroyed the target in a direct hit,” he said.

The missile covered a distance of 450 kilometers. The maximum altitude of its trajectory was 28 kilometers. The flight lasted 4.5 minutes. The missile reached the hypersonic speed of over Mach 8.

Following the acceptance trials, Tsirkon will be deployed on submarines and surface warships. The Defense Ministry said the trials of the missile would continue.

“The Tsirkon project and the stage you have reported today — the successful test flight of the missile — are a major event not only for the Armed Forces but also for the nation as a whole. Supplying our Armed Forces — the Army and the Navy — with the most advanced armaments that have no analogs in the world will reliably ensure national defense for a long time to come,” Putin said.

“The success of this project, as we are well aware, is the result of the hard work of our scientists, engineers, talented workers and military professionals. It is an important stage in the provision of advanced armaments to our Armed Forces,” the president said.

Putin said in his state-of-the-nation address in 2019 that Tsirkon develops a speed of Mach 9 and has a range of over a thousand kilometers. The missile will be carried by submarines and warships armed with Kalibr missiles.

Tsirkon is fired by the 3S-14 universal vertical launcher which is also fit for 3M-54 anti-ship missile (SS-N-27 Sizzler by NATO classification), shipborne cruise missile 3M-14 against ground targets and antisubmarine 91RT2 guided Kalibr missile, as well as 3M-55 (SS-N-26 Strobile) Onix anti-ship missile.

The launchers are installed on corvettes of projects 20385, 21631 and 22800, frigates of projects 11661K, 11356, and 22350, and Admiral Nakhimov upgraded nuclear cruiser of project 11442M. Kalibr missiles can be also fired by diesel-electric submarines of projects 636.3 and 677 by 533mm torpedo launchers and by SSGN of projects 885 and 885M.

The test launch footage of the Defense Ministry shows Tsirkon was fired by 3S-14 launcher in the bow of the Admiral Gorshkov frigate of project 22350. The initial launch trajectory resembles that of Onix. After the pop-up, the main engine starts up and the trajectory is adjusted. The missile likely rises to a high altitude (28 km) and dives before hitting the target.

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