| 3M22 Zircon|
Hypersonic cruise missile
Submarine-launched cruise missile
|Place of origin||Russia|
|In service||In production (2022)|
|Used by||Russian Navy|
|Length||9 m (30 ft)|
|Diameter||60 cm (24 in)|
|Maximum firing range||1,500 km (930 mi)|
|Warhead||> 300 HE, >200 kt tnw nuclear|
|Warhead weight||300–400 kg (660–880 lb)|
|Propellant||Liquid - "Decilin-M" (Russian: Децилин-М)|
|>1,000 km (540 nmi; 620 mi)|
|Flight altitude||28 km (92,000 ft)|
|Maximum speed||Mach 9 (6,900 mph; 11,000 km/h; 3.1 km/s) (Max)|
|Submarine, Surface ship,|
Land-based (in development)
|Russian MoD Zircon coverage|
In April 2017, it was reported Zircon had reached a speed of Mach 8 (6,100 mph; 9,800 km/h; 2,700 m/s) during a flight test. Zircon was again test-fired on 3 June 2017, almost a year earlier than had been announced by Russian officials. In November 2017, Colonel General Viktor Bondarev stated that the missile was already in service. Another flight test reportedly occurred on 10 December 2018, during which the missile demonstrated that it could attain a speed of Mach 8.
On 20 February 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the missile can accelerate up to Mach 9 and destroy both sea and land targets within 1,000 km (540 nmi; 620 mi). By the year's end, on 24 December 2019, Putin stated that Zircon's land-based version was in development.
According to the commander in chief of the Russian Navy Nikolai Yevmenov, as of January 2020, Zircon was still in testing phase and despite the overall positive evaluation of the test program, still suffered from the "childhood diseases" (Russian idiom meaning "teething problems"). Modernized frigates are expected to be the first platform to receive the hypersonic missile, and the tests are to be continued in parallel with the Navy's armament with the Kalibr cruise missile. Yevmenov further stated Zircon is expected to enter service "in the coming years". In early January 2020, Zircon was first test-launched from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov in the Barents Sea, and successfully hit a ground target in the Northern Urals, exceeding the distance of 500 km.
On 7 October 2020, the Russian Chief of General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, stated a Zircon was launched from Admiral Gorshkov in the White Sea and successfully hit a sea target in the Barents Sea 450 km (280 mi) away, reportedly reaching a speed of "more than Mach 8" and altitude of 28 km (17 mi).
On 26 November 2020, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the successful test of a missile launched from Admiral Gorshkov in the White Sea, hitting a naval target 450 km away in the Barents Sea.
On 11 December 2020, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the successful test of a missile launched from Admiral Gorshkov in the White Sea, hitting a ground target 350 km away in the Arkhangelsk Region.
On 19 July 2021, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the successful test of a missile launched from Admiral Gorshkov in the White Sea, hitting a ground target 350 km away on the coast of the Barents Sea. The flight speed reached nearly Mach 7.
The flight tests of the missile from a coastal mount and a surface ship carrier were reportedly completed as of late September 2021 with over 10 launches performed.
On 4 October 2021, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the successful test of a missile launched from a nuclear submarine for the first time from a surfaced position. The Defense Ministry, which tested firing the Zircon missile from a warship in July, said that the nuclear submarine Severodvinsk fired the missile while deployed in the Barents Sea and had hit its chosen target. Low-quality video footage released by the ministry showed the missile shooting upwards from a submarine, its glare lighting up the night sky and illuminating the water's surface. A second submerged launch from a depth of 40 m was reported later the same day. The next day it was reported that the missile's trials from the submarine have been completed.
A Zircon hypersonic missile test-launched from the Northern Fleet's frigate Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov struck a naval target in the White Sea with a direct hit, Russia's Defense Ministry reported on 18 November 2021.
The crew of the Northern Fleet frigate Admiral Gorshkov, as part of the completion of the cycle of tests of hypersonic missile weapons, fired another Zircon missile at a sea target on November 29 and another one at a coastal target on December 16. The Tsirkon hypersonic system was salvo-launched on December 24, 2021, and again launched on February 19, 2022. On 28 May 2022 Russian Ministry of Defense released a video and news of a new test-launch where a Zircon missile hit a sea target at a distance of 1,000 km (620 mi) in the White Sea. The program of state trials was reportedly completed with that launch.
On 18 July 2022, it was reported that Zircon would be adopted by the Russian Navy by the end of 2022.
On 31 July 2022, speaking in St Petersburg on Russia's Naval Day, President Vladimir Putin announced that the Black Sea Fleet would be equipped with Zircon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missiles "in the coming months".
Zircon is believed to be a maneuvering, winged hypersonic cruise missile with a lift-generating center body. A booster stage with solid-fuel engines accelerates it to supersonic speeds, after which a scramjet motor with liquid-fuel (Decilin [ru]) (JP-10 jet fuel) in the second stage accelerates it to hypersonic speeds.
The missile's range is estimated to be 135 to 270 nautical miles (155 to 311 mi; 250 to 500 km) at low level, and up to 400 nmi (460 mi; 740 km) in a semi-ballistic trajectory; average range is around 400–450 km (250–280 mi; 220–240 nmi). According to Russian media (2017), the longest possible range is 540 nmi (620 mi; 1,000 km) and for this purpose a new fuel was created. Some internet sources even claim the range of missile can reach 1,000 - 2,000 km, depending on the type of target.
The high speed of the Zircon likely gives it better target-penetration characteristics than lighter subsonic cruise-missiles, such as Tomahawk. Being twice as heavy and almost eleven times as fast as Tomahawk, the Zircon has more than 242 times the on-cruise kinetic energy of a Tomahawk missile (≈9 gigajoules, or equal to 2,150 kg TNT explosive energy). Its Mach 9 speed means that it cannot be intercepted by existing missile defence systems and its precision makes it lethal to large targets such as aircraft carriers.
Zircon can travel at a speed of Mach 9 (6,900 mph; 11,000 km/h; 3.1 km/s). This has led to concerns[neutrality is disputed] that it could penetrate existing naval defense systems. Because it flies at hypersonic speeds within the atmosphere, the air pressure in front of it forms a plasma cloud as it moves, absorbing radio waves and making it practically invisible to active radar systems (plasma stealth). However, this also blinds any radar or IR seeker on the missile. With plasma stealth, hypersonic-speed and sea skimming technique, intercepting a flying Zircon is extremely difficult, if at all feasible at the current level of technology. The final section of the trajectory will be overcome in a minimum time (under 10 seconds), the enemy will not have time to carry out all the necessary procedures Zircon exchanges information in flight and can be controlled by commands if necessary.
Zircon will be first deployed with the Kirov-class battlecruiser Admiral Nakhimov after 2021. The ship's P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles is being replaced with the 3S14 universal VLS cells capable of carrying the Oniks, Kalibr and Zircon anti-ship cruise missiles; the vessel is to be equipped with 72 such missiles. The other active Kirov-class ship, Pyotr Velikiy, will undergo a similar procedure. After completion of their refit, the ships could carry 40–80 anti-ship cruise missiles of different types. Other platforms include Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates and Gremyashchiy-class corvettes (fitted with UKSK VLS cells during their construction), Yasen-class submarines, modernised Udaloy-class destroyers, and modernised Oscar-class submarines (Project 949AM).
There are certain design similarities between Zirkon and BrahMos-II, which have been noted by experts. Some experts have also postulated that the BrahMos-II might be an export version of the Zirkon missile. A version for export to any non-MTCR country should have its range limited under 300 km in compliance with the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), or up to 400 km.
- "Putin says Russian navy to get hypersonic Zircon missiles in 2022". Aljazeera.com. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
- "ЦАМТО / / Сергей Шойгу сообщил о начале серийного производства гиперзвуковых ракет "Циркон"".
- "Russia's top brass signs deal on delivery of Tsirkon hypersonic missiles to troops". TASS.com. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- "В России рассказали о работе над гиперзвуковой ракетой "Циркон"" (in Russian). Expert. 30 August 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "Putin Reveals Zircon Mach 9 Missile Specification". Aviation International News. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "Программа создания гиперзвуковых ракет достигла стадии летных испытаний" (in Russian). TASS. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
- "News Archives". Theceomagazine.com. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- "Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation: tests of the Zircon hypersonic missile have been successfully completed". Avia-pro.net. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- ""Подтвердили характеристики»: завершаются испытания ракеты «Циркон"". Gazeta.ru. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- "Russia Says This Is Our First Glimpse of Its Zircon Hypersonic Cruise Missile". The War Zone. 7 October 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
- "Russia's hypersonic Zircon anti-ship missile reaches eight times speed of sound". TASS. 15 April 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- "Putin Reveals Zircon Mach 9 Missile Specification". Aviation International News. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
- "Работы по МБР "Сармат", гиперзвуковому "Циркону", аппарату "Посейдон" идут по плану - Путин" (in Russian). Interfax. Retrieved 24 December 2019.
- "Analysis: 3K22 and 3M22 Zircon, the Next Generation Hypersonic Missile of the Russian Navy". Navy Recognition. TASS. 7 April 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
- CMANO:WOTY DB
- "Russia develops hypersonic 4,600 mph Zircon missile". Fox News. 1 April 2017.
- "Эксперт рассказал о суперспособности ракеты "Циркон" преодолеть системы ПРО". РЕН ТВ. 15 April 2017.
- Ivanov, Yuri (17 April 2017). "Гиперзвуковая ракета "Циркон" ослабит позиции США" (in Russian). ОРУЖИЕ РОССИИ. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- Marsden, Harriet (3 June 2017). "New Russian missile 'makes Western defences obselete'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2017-06-03. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
- "Бондарев: ВС РФ имеют гиперзвуковые ракеты "Циркон" и ракеты донного базирования "Скиф"". TASS. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- "Russia again successfully tests ship-based hypersonic missile — which will likely be ready for combat by 2022". CNBC. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
- "Russia Test-Fires Hypersonic Missile from a Submarine for the First Time - October 5, 2021". Daily News Brief. 2021-10-05. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
- "Russian Navy's Top Officer Says Shadowy Zircon Hypersonic Missile Has "Childhood Diseases"". The War Zone. 21 January 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
- "Russia test-launches Tsirkon hypersonic missile from ship for first time". TASS. 27 February 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
- "Russia test-launches Tsirkon hypersonic missile". Dailynewsegypt. 26 November 2020.
- "Russian Navy frigate test-fires Tsirkon hypersonic missile from White Sea". Tass news agency. 1 January 2021.
- "Tsirkon missile confirms tactical and technical characteristics during test — top brass". TASS.com.
- "Russia completes flight trials of Tsirkon hypersonic missile from surface ships — source". TASS.com. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- "Russia test fires submarine-launched hypersonic Tsirkon missile for first time". Reuters.com. 4 October 2021. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- "Tsirkon missile's first test launch from sub successfully conducted in Barents Sea". TASS.com. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- "Submarine Severodvinsk carries out underwater launch of Tsirkon missile". TASS.com. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- "Tsirkon missile's trials from sub completed, says commander". TASS.com. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- "ЦАМТО / / С борта фрегата "Адмирал Горшков" выполнен успешный пуск гиперзвуковой ракеты "Циркон"". Armstrade.org. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- "ЦАМТО / / С борта фрегата "Адмирал Горшков" выполнен испытательный пуск гиперзвуковой ракеты "Циркон"". armstrade.org.
- "Russian frigate successfully hits target with Tsirkon hypersonic missile from White Sea".
- "Putin lauds successful test-launch of Tsirkon hypersonic missile".
- "All missiles hit targets during Russia's strategic drills directed by Putin — Kremlin".
- "Фрегат "Адмирал Флота Советского Союза Горшков" выполнил испытательную стрельбу ракетой "Циркон" в Баренцевом море" [The frigate "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov" performed a test firing of the Zircon missile in the Barents Sea] (in Russian).
- "Tsirkon hypersonic missile state trials for naval carriers successfully completed — source".
- "Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov wraps up cycle of Tsirkon hypersonic missile tests".
- ""Циркон" надводного базирования могут принять на вооружение ВМФ до конца года". TASS (in Russian). 18 July 2022.
- Ians (31 July 2022). "Russian Forces to get Zircon hypersonic missiles in coming months: Putin". Business Standard India. Business Standard Private Ltd. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
- Sanders, Tom (August 2022). "Putin on verge of getting hold of 7,000mph hypersonic nuclear missiles". www.metro.co.uk. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
- "Российские ракеты "Циркон" делают американский "Джеральд Форд" "авианедоносцем". | Блог Малюта | КОНТ". cont.ws.
- Russia and India Test Hypersonic and Supersonic Missiles - Ainonline.com, 25 April 2017
- Dave Majumdar (2016-04-22). "Russia's Lethal Hypersonic Zirkon Cruise Missile to Enter Production". nationalinterest.org. The National Interest Blog. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
- "Для гиперзвуковых крылатых ракет в России создано принципиально новое топливо". vesti.ru. Вести. 2017-05-19. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
- "Российские ракеты "Циркон" делают американский "Джеральд Форд" "авианедоносцем". | Блог Малюта | КОНТ". Cont.ws. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
- "Ракеты "Циркон" окончательно определили технологическое превосходство России над США". ruspolitica.ru. Русская политика. 2016-10-28. Archived from the original on 2017-06-10. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
- Makichuk, Dave (July 19, 2021). "Russia's 'invincible' Zircon missile hits test target". Asia Times.
- Hypersonic Weapons: Background and Issues for Congress
- Mizokami, Kyle (2016-04-26). "Russia's Putting Hypersonic Missiles on Its Battlecruisers". Popularmechanics.com. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
- "3M22 Zircon – Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance".
- Why Russia's Hypersonic Missiles Can't Be Seen on Radar. Military.com.
- ""Циркон" выходит на рабочую скорость". vz.ru. 2017-04-17. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
- Виктория Фоменко (2016-05-17). "Опаснее "Калибра": Россия начала испытание гиперзвуковой ракеты "Циркон" - Газета Труд". trud.ru. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
- "Начались испытания гиперзвуковой ракеты "Циркон"". rg.ru. 2016-03-17. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
- "[Actu] Le missile 3M22 Tsirkon". Red Samovar. 8 October 2021.
- "Modified Version Of BrahMos Anti-Ship Cruise Missile Successfully Tested; Hits Target With Pinpoint Accuracy". Eurasian Times Desk. 28 November 2020.
- Episkopos, Mark. "Russia's Tsirkon Hypersonic Missile Keeps Inching Closer to Reality". The National Interest. Retrieved 3 February 2021.