Oct. 4 (UPI) — Russia’s Defense Ministry said Monday it successfully test-fired its hypersonic Tsirkon missile from an underwater position for the first time.
The launch from the nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine Severodvinsk was the Tsirkon-class hypersonic missile’s second test-fire from the White Sea at a target in the Barents Sea, but the first from an underwater position.
“The second test-firing of the hypersonic cruise missile Zircon [also known as Tsirkon] was carried out by the crew of the nuclear submarine missile cruiser Severodvinsk for the first time from an underwater position, from a depth of 40 meters, in the waters of the White Sea at a conditional target in the Barents Sea,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday.
The test launch met its objectives, “from leaving the water to hitting the conditional target,” according to the statement.
The surface test was the first test of the hypersonic missile from a submarine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has touted the Tsirkon missile, which Moscow says can reach speeds of Mach 9 — nine times the speed of sound — to evade enemy air defenses and has a range of over 600 miles, as Russia’s new “invincible” generation of weapons, CBS News reported.
The Russian Navy also previously successfully test-fired the Tsirkon missile from the Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate last year and most recently in July.
Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told CBS News tests on the Tsirkon missile system will be done by the end of the year, and he expects that the Russian Navy will commission the weapon next year for cruisers, frigates and submarines.
The U.S. Defense Department said on June 9 its hypersonic missile program was accelerating but staying within its $6.6 billion budget. Days later, the DoD announced a missile defense review to be completed by February 2022 “to correlate its needs against rising nuclear powers,” noting that “nations such as North Korea, Iran, Russia and China [are] all maturing their missile technology.”
The U.S. Air Force successfully detonated a hypersonic missile warhead for the first time in a ground test in July.