Russia began testing its navy’s new hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles, Sputnik News reported citing RIA Novosti Thursday. The cruise missiles are expected to reach five or six times the speed of sound (Mach 5 or Mach 6), the report added.
“The tests of the hypersonic Zircon missiles have begun using a ground-based launching site,” a senior Defense Ministry source told RIA Novosti, according to Sputnik News.
Once the tests are confirmed successful, the missile will reportedly be presented for state approval. It will reportedly be installed on Russia's newest fifth-generation Husky-class nuclear submarines, which are currently being developed.
Modern Russian anti-ship missiles, like Onyx, can reach up to Mach 2.6 (750 meters per second). The sea-based Kalibr cruise missile travels at a Mach 0.9 speed, but while approaching the target, its warhead speeds up to Mach 2.9.
The Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles will also be used for Russian battleship Pyotr Veliky, Tass news agency reported last month. The range of the missile is likely to be just over 248 miles.
"The Pyotr Veliky will start repairs in the third or fourth quarter of 2019. Repairs and upgrade are due for completion in late 2022, the ship to be equipped with Zircon hypersonic anti-ship missiles," a source told Tass at the time.