The Russian Ministry of Defense reported on Monday that one of its warships, the Admiral Gorshkov, has conducted the successful test-fire of a high-tech missile, ahead of the rockets being rolled out to submarines and naval ships.
In a statement issued by Moscow, military chiefs said that “the Zircon missile successfully struck the target in the White Sea with a direct hit at a distance of over 350 kilometers. The test confirmed the tactical and technical performance of the missile, and its flight speed was around Mach 7.” This means that the projectile flew at hypersonic velocity, seven times faster than the speed of sound.
READ MORE: Putin says US developing hypersonic weapons, but Russian ‘brainpower’ means Moscow doesn’t fear new arms race
There are now plans to kit out a range of other naval vessels, including both submarines and surface ships, with the Zircon system. In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that next-generation “hypersonic and laser” weapons were an essential part of the country’s future arsenal to deter aggression from overseas. “We have patience, self-confidence, and righteousness on our side,” Putin added. “I hope no one will think of crossing red lines in their relations with Russia. Where that line sits is ours to determine.”
Earlier this month, Moscow’s diplomats expressed concern over US-led NATO wars in the Arctic region, which saw American jets fly over the frigid waters. Envoys branded the exercises “provocative,” and said that they would have a profound impact on “confidence-building in Europe.” At the same time, they argued that the actions flew in the face of international commitments to “ensuring the sustainable and peaceful development of the Arctic region.”
In May, Russia opened a state-of-the-art Arctic military base, designed to project Moscow’s military force across the region and acting as a potential landing strip for heavy, nuclear-capable bombers. Located in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, its construction comes as part of efforts to strengthen the country’s northern border.
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