Russia Tests Hypersonic Missile From Submarine

Russia said Monday it had launched a new hypersonic cruise missile from a submarine, the latest test of new weapons that President Vladimir Putin has lauded as “invincible”.

Moscow has in recent years touted the development of weapons it hopes will give it an edge in the arms race with the United States at a time of rising tensions with the West.

Hypersonic missiles can travel at more than five times the speed of sound and perform mid-flight maneuvers, making them much more difficult to track and intercept than traditional missiles.

The Russian military said Monday that it fired a Zircon missile from the Severodvinsk nuclear submarine and hit a test target in the Barents Sea in Russia’s Arctic.

“The test launch of the Zircon missile from a nuclear submarine is considered successful,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry released video footage showing flames from the movement of the missiles lighting up the night sky.

S-400 . missile system "Triumph" only after being stationed at a military base outside the city of Gvardeysk near Kaliningrad, Russia March 11, 2019. (REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar)

The new S-400 “Triumph” missile system after being deployed at a military base outside the city of Gvardeysk near Kaliningrad, Russia March 11, 2019. (REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar)

The Zircon has undergone several tests in recent years, including launches from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov.

Putin used his State of the Union address in 2018 to reveal the country’s ownership of new hypersonic weapons, including the Zircon. According to him, Zircon can hit targets at sea and on land within a range of 1,000 kilometers.

The Zircon looks set to join the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle which entered service in 2019 and the air-launched Kinzhal (Dagger) missile in Russia’s arsenal.

The launch came a week after North Korea said it had tested a new hypersonic weapon, making it the latest country to join the hypersonic arms race.

Experts agree that, at least for now, Russia has the upper hand in developing hypersonic weapons. [ab/uh]

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