3M22 Zircon

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3M22 Zircon
TypeAnti-ship hypersonic cruise missile
Submarine-launched cruise missile
Place of originRussian Federation
Service history
In serviceIn production
Production history
DesignerNPO Mashinostroyeniya
ManufacturerNPO Mashinostroyeniya
Length8–10 m

Warhead weight300-400 kg[1][2]

PropellantLiquid - "Decilin-M" (Russian: Децилин-М)[3]
400 km (220 nmi; 250 mi)[4]
SpeedUp to Mach 8 (6,090 mph; 9,800 km/h; 2,722.3 m/s).[5][4]
Submarine, Surface ship

The 3M22 Zircon[6][7] also spelled as 3M22 Tsirkon (Russian: Циркон, NATO reporting name: SS-N-33)[8] is a scramjet powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile developed by Russia.[9][10]

Design and development[edit]

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]) in the second stage accelerates it to hypersonic speeds.[10][11] The missile represents a further development of the HELA (Hypersonic Experimental Flying Vehicle) developed by NPO Mashinostroyeniya[12] that was on display at the 1995 MAKS air show.

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;[13] average range is around 400–450 km (250–280 mi; 220–240 nmi).[14] According to state-owned media, the longest possible range is 540 nmi (620 mi; 1,000 km) and for this purpose a new fuel was created.[15][16][17]

Zircon can travel at a speed of Mach 8–Mach 9 (6,090–6,851 mph; 9,800–11,025 km/h; 2,722.3–3,062.6 m/s). Such high speeds would likely create a cloud of plasma around the missile, absorbing any radio waves and making the missile virtually invisible to radars (plasma stealth).[18][19] This have led to concerns that it could penetrate existing naval defense systems.[20] Zircon exchanges information in flight and can be controlled by commands if necessary.[21]

Zircon will be first deployed with the Kirov-class battlecruisers Admiral Nakhimov and Pyotr Velikiy after 2020. The ships will have their P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles replaced with the 3S-14 universal VLS cells capable of carrying the Oniks, Kalibr and Zircon cruise missiles; each vessel is to be equipped with 72 such missiles.[18] After completion of their refit, the ships could carry 40–80 anti-ship missiles of different types.[22] Other platforms are likely to include Russian Navy's Admiral Grigorovich class and Admiral Gorshkov class frigates,[23][19] as well as Gremyashchiy class, Buyan class and Karakurt class corvettes, mainly due to the installation of the compatible 3S-14 vertical launchers.

In November 2017, Colonel General Viktor Bondarev revealed the Zircon missile was already in service with the Russian Armed Forces.[24]

On 20 February 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated the missile is capable to accelerate up to Mach 9 and destroy both sea-going and land targets within 1,000 km (540 nmi; 620 mi) distance.[25]

Flight testing[edit]

Prototypes were test-launched from a Tu-22M3 bomber in 2012-2013. Launches from a ground-based platform followed in 2015, with first success achieved in 2016.

In April 2017, it was reported the Zircon had reached a speed of Mach 8 (6,090 mph; 9,800 km/h; 2,722.3 m/s) during a flight test.[26]

The missile was again test-fired on 3 June 2017, almost a year earlier than had been announced by Russian officials.[27]

The latest flight test of the missile reportedly occurred on 10 December 2018 during which the missile demonstrated to attain a speed of Mach 8.[28]

The missile is to be test-launched from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate at the end of 2019.[29]


A version for export should have its range limited under 300 km in compliance with the MTCR[13] or up to 400 km.[15]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "В России рассказали о работе над гиперзвуковой ракетой "Циркон"" (in Russian). Expert (magazine). 30 August 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Putin Reveals Zircon Mach 9 Missile Specification". Aviation International News. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  3. ^ "Программа создания гиперзвуковых ракет достигла стадии летных испытаний" (in Russian). TASS. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Источник: российская ракета "Циркон" достигла на испытаниях восьми скоростей звука" (in Russian). TASS. 15 April 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "Analysis: 3K22 and 3M22 Zircon, the Next Generation Hypersonic Missile of the Russian Navy". Navy Recognition. TASS. 7 April 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  7. ^ "How Russian Hypersonic Missiles Shattering the Pillars of US Naval Doctrine". sputniknews.com.
  9. ^ "Russia develops hypersonic 4,600 mph Zircon missile". Fox News. 1 April 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Эксперт рассказал о суперспособности ракеты "Циркон" преодолеть системы ПРО". РЕН ТВ. 15 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Российские ракеты "Циркон" делают американский "Джеральд Форд" "авианедоносцем".  | Блог Малюта | КОНТ". cont.ws.
  12. ^ Ivanov, Yuri (17 April 2017). "Гиперзвуковая ракета "Циркон" ослабит позиции США" (in Russian). ОРУЖИЕ РОССИИ. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  13. ^ a b Russia and India Test Hypersonic and Supersonic Missiles - Ainonline.com, 25 April 2017
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ a b "Для гиперзвуковых крылатых ракет в России создано принципиально новое топливо". vesti.ru. Вести. 2017-05-19. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  16. ^ "Российские ракеты "Циркон" делают американский "Джеральд Форд" "авианедоносцем". | Блог Малюта | КОНТ". Cont.ws. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  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.
  18. ^ a b Виктория Фоменко (2016-05-17). "Опаснее "Калибра": Россия начала испытание гиперзвуковой ракеты "Циркон" - Газета Труд". trud.ru. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  19. ^ a b "В России успешно провели испытания новой гиперзвуковой ракеты "Циркон", не имеющей аналогов в мире". 1tv.ru. 2017-05-21. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  20. ^ Mizokami, Kyle (2016-04-26). "Russia's Putting Hypersonic Missiles on Its Battlecruisers". Popularmechanics.com. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  21. ^ ""Циркон" выходит на рабочую скорость". vz.ru. 2017-04-17. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  22. ^ "Начались испытания гиперзвуковой ракеты "Циркон"". rg.ru. 2016-03-17. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  23. ^ "Российская ракета "Циркон" достигла восьми скоростей звука". rg.ru. 2017-04-15. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  24. ^ "Бондарев: ВС РФ имеют гиперзвуковые ракеты "Циркон" и ракеты донного базирования "Скиф"". TASS. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  25. ^ "Putin Reveals Zircon Mach 9 Missile Specification". Aviation International News. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Russia's hypersonic Zircon anti-ship missile reaches eight times speed of sound". TASS. 15 April 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  27. ^ Marsden, Harriet (3 June 2017). "New Russian missile 'makes Western defences obselete'". The Independent. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  28. ^ "Russia again successfully tests ship-based hypersonic missile — which will likely be ready for combat by 2022". cnbc.com. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  29. ^ "Zircon missile to be test-launched from Admiral Gorshkov frigate at end of 2019". TASS. 12 March 2019. Retrieved 2 April 2019.

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