Zircon Hypersonic Missiles

Moscow. 25.08.2021. Russian Defence Ministry signed a contract for the supply of 3M22 Zircon hypersonic missiles with Scientific and Production Association Mashinostroyenia.

During the International Military-Technical Forum, the contract was given to Alexander Leonov, General Director of Scientific and Production Association Mashinostroyenia.

The multi-purpose hypersonic cruise missile is designed to destroy sea and ground targets.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Zircon hypersonic missiles, capable of speeds of about Mach 9 and hitting targets at a distance of more than 1,000 km, will be put on combat alert duty in the near future.

Zircon is 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). 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). This has led to concerns that it could penetrate existing naval defense systems. Zircon exchanges information in flight and can be controlled by commands if necessary.

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 7 Mach. Serial deliveries of Russia’s Zircon (Tsirkon) hypersonic missiles will start next year.