Russia’s stunning new anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile has been undergoing final trials prior to its deployment where experts say it has the capability to tip the balance of power and give Russia superiority at sea.
The 3M22 Zircon is an anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile currently being put through the final stages of testing by the Russian military.
According to local media, it can reach speeds of two to three kilometres per second with a range of thousands of kilometres.
Russian military chiefs believe it is also superior to the current missile system used by the US Navy and NATO forces.
Military expert Alexei Leonkov said that the Zircon system is invulnerable to missile strikes so American destroyers of the Arleigh Burke-class, which are equipped with the Aegis system, will not pose a threat.
US Aegis missile interception systems require 8 to 10 seconds of reaction time to intercept incoming attacks, considered slow compared to Zircon missiles.
In those 8 to 10 seconds, Russian Zircon missiles can travel about 20 kilometres, and interceptor missiles would not be fast enough to destroy them.
Leonkov added: “Due to its speed, it will be able to destroy the carriers of preventive means of attack.”
Deputy Minister of Defence Alexey Krivoruchko said that all ships equipped with C3-14 launchers will be upgraded and Project 949 submarines will also stock the 3M22 Zircon, including the Irkutsk and Ash.
Krivoruchko claimed that NATO has no way of neutralising the Zircon, adding: “There have already been suggestions on how to deal with it. It was proposed to neutralise the ships carrying it by air, deploying aircraft with refuelling capabilities in the air so that they could fly such long distances.
Russian military officials said that creating a new missile defence system would mean NATO investing huge sums of money, but they still expect the alliance to begin work on a new missile interceptor system this year.
The Zircon was first mentioned by President Vladimir Putin during his annual speech to the Federal Assembly when he announced new weapons systems for the military in March 2018.
It is expected that the Zircon missile system will be combat-ready in the foreseeable future as final tests are now underway.