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Russian Navy Gremyashchiy corvette will be armed with 3M22 Zircon hypersonic missiles

The highly-maneuverable hypersonic missile known as the 3M22 Zircon will be installed aboard the Russian Navy Gremyashchiy corvette. The first-in-class Project 20385 corvette Gremyashchiy made its public debut in Russia's Navy Day parade in St Petersburg on 28 July, 2019.

Russian Navy Gremyashchiy corvette will be arrmed with 3M22 Zircon hypersonic missiles 925 001 Russian Navy Project 20385 corvette Gremyashchiy. (Picture source Russian MoD)

The 3M22 Zircon is a scramjet powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile developed by Russia. The missile's range is estimated to be 250 to 500 km at low level, and up to 740 km in a semi-ballistic trajectory; average range is around 400–450 km. According to state-owned media, the longest possible range is 1,000 km and for this purpose a new fuel was created.

Hypersonic weapons incorporate the speed of a ballistic missile with the maneuvering capabilities of a cruise missile. Hypersonic weapons are specifically designed for increased survivability against modern ballistic missile defense systems.

The Gremyashchiy is the Project 20385 lead corvette laid down on February 1, 2012 and floated out in June 2017. The corvettes of this Project developed by the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau are designated to detect and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships, provide for troop landing and cope with numerous green-water tasks.

The warship is expected to enter service with the Pacific Fleet by the end of 2019. The Gremyashchy-class is provided with a flight deck at the aft to provide take-off/landing for a single anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter of type Kamov Ka-27PL/Ka-27PS Helix.

An eight-cell vertical launch system is installed to deploy Caliber-NK long-range cruise missiles for protection against surface and shore-based targets at ranges up to 300 km. The corvette Gremyashchiy will become the first warship in the Pacific Fleet to carry Kalibr cruise missiles.

The Gremyashchiy corvette is also armed with two 30mm AK-630M close-in weapons systems for defence against enemy aircraft. A 16-cell launcher is provided for Redoubt anti-aircraft missile complex, which uses a number of 9K96 surface-to-air missiles to defend air targets. A 100mm А190-01 lightweight multi-purpose naval artillery gun is mounted in the bow to engage enemy surface ships, coastal and air targets. With a rate of fire of 80 rpm, the weapon can travel to a distance of 20 km.

Project 20385 corvettes displace 2,200 tonnes, have an operating range of 3,500 miles and their sea endurance is 15 days. They are armed with Kalibr-NK universal missile systems, Redut anti-aircraft missile complexes and Paket anti-submarine warfare technology.