Russia starts batch production of Tsirkon hypersonic missiles

According to information published by Tass on August 23, 2022, the Russian Defense Ministry is starting batch production of Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missiles, and it will be formalized this year, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of the Tsirkon hypersonic missile(Picture source: iXBT)

The Russian Minister of Defense Shoigu added that the production of advanced weapons systems, including Sarmat missiles, was included in the contracts inked at the Army 2022 forum.

 About the hypersonic missile

The 3M22 Zircon also spelled as 3M22 Tsirkon (SS-N-33) is a scramjet-powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile currently in production by Russia.

Zircon is believed to be a maneuvering, winged hypersonic cruise missile with a lift-generating center body. A booster stage with solid-fuel engines accelerates it to supersonic speeds, after which a scramjet motor with liquid fuel in the second stage accelerates it to hypersonic speeds.

The high speed of the Zircon likely gives it better target-penetration characteristics than lighter subsonic cruise missiles, such as Tomahawk.

Being twice as heavy and almost eleven times as fast as Tomahawk, the Zircon has more than 242 times the on-cruise kinetic energy of a Tomahawk missile (~9 gigajoules, or equal to 2,150 kg TNT explosive energy).

Its 8-9 mach speed means that it cannot be intercepted by existing missile defense systems and its precision makes it lethal to large targets such as an aircraft carrier.

The missile can be fired from the vertical launch systems mounted on cruisers Admiral Nakhimov and Pyotr Veliky, Project 20380 corvettes, Project 22350 frigates, and Project 885 Yasen-class submarines, among other platforms.