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MARCH 2021

Russia To Accelerate Testing Of Hypersonic Weapons, Start Serial Production Of Sarmat ICBM


Russia To Accelerate Testing Of Hypersonic Weapons, Start Serial Production Of Sarmat ICBM

Illustrative image. Click to see full-size

Russia is to accelerate the pace of conducting test launches of the Zircon hypersonic missile from warships and submarines, two TASS sources in the military-industrial complex said.

Test-firing from submarines will begin in 2020 in parallel with launches from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov.

“It is planned to increase the pace of firing a hypersonic missile from marine carriers as part of the state testing of the product. Shooting from submarines of the Yasen-class will begin this year in parallel with an ongoing series of launches from Admiral Gorshkov,” said one of TASS’ sources.

The other source confirmed the information and noted that “the first tests of the missile from an underwater carrier should be carried out from the submarine Severodvinsk (project 885, Yasen-class).

He added that “the first launch of a Zircon from the Severodvinsk will be made from the surface.”

No specific dates for when these tests would be carried were given.

NPO Mashinostroyeniya (part of the Tactical Missile Arms Corporation), which, according to media reports, developed the Zircon hypersonic missile, declined to comment on the information provided by the TASS sources.

Zircon was first used from a ship in early January 2020 (while, according to other sources, at the end of December 2019).

The Admiral Gorshkov frigate launched a missile from the Barents Sea at a range of more than 500 km at a coastal target. It is expected that by the end of the year the frigate will perform 3-4 such Zircon hypersonic missile launches.

On March 20th, Vice Admiral Alexander Moiseev, commander of the Northern Fleet, told the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper that submarines of the Northern Fleet will conduct test firing of hypersonic missiles in the near future.

The plans for the creation of the Zircon hypersonic missile was announced in early 2011 by Vladimir Popovkin, deputy defense minister.

According to media reports, flight tests of the rocket began in 2015. By the end of 2018, according to a TASS source, more than 10 launches were completed.

In a message to the Federal Assembly in February 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Zircon missile is capable of speeds of about Mach 9 and will be able to hit both surface and ground targets at a distance of more than 1,000 km.

The 3S-14 UKSK vertical launch platform is used to launch the Zircon missiles. Such launchers, in particular, are equipped on frigates of project 22350, corvettes of project 20380, in the version for submarines – multi-purpose submarines of the Yasen-class.

It should be mentioned that witch a range of approximately 1,000 or more kilometers, the missile falls within the range that was to be banned under the INF Treaty, but the US unilaterally decided to end it in 2019.

Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russia completed the modernization of production to begin serial production of Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“The modernization of the industrial facilities for serial production of the Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile has been completed,” he said.

Shoigu said that “Kinzhal” high-precision hypersonic missile systems are already on pilot combat duty.

Flight design tests of the Zircon marine hypersonic missile are ongoing. In December last year, the first Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle regiment, as well as the Peresvet laser systems, entered combat duty.

RS-28 “Sarmat” is a Russian prospective ground-launched missile system with a heavy liquid intercontinental ballistic missile. It has been developed since the 2000s by specialists of V.P. Makeyev State Rocket Center JSC as a replacement for the Voevoda R-36M2 complex.

Meanwhile, the US is allegedly making progress in its hypersonic technology, with a video of a “groundbreaking” test being released on March 20th.

The 5-second video shows a missile being launched and nothing else, so it should be taken with a grain of salt.

C-HGB (Common hypersonic glide body) will form the basis for hypersonic weapon systems fielded by both the Army and Navy. According to the Department of Defense, C-HGB will comprise a hypersonic weapon’s “conventional warhead, guidance system, cabling, and thermal protection shield.” The weapon is launched into the air on a rocket booster, which then sets it on an atmospheric flight path that sees the weapon roar down onto target at speeds of Mach 5 or faster.




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