Putin celebrates the firing of a salvo of hypersonic missiles
Steph Deschamps / December 25, 2021
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Friday a successful test firing of a salvo of hypersonic Zircon missiles, a type of weapon deemed invisible by Moscow and at the heart of an arms race between military powers.
Last night, in the early morning, a salvo from the Zircon hypersonic system was fired, the Russian leader said at a government meeting broadcast on television, adding that the operation had been successful. This is a great event for the country and a significant step to strengthen Russia's security and defense capabilities, he continued, without further details on the firing. According to several Russian media outlets, this is the first time Moscow has announced the launch of a Zircon salvo. The Russian Ministry of Defense has not, for the time being, given any additional information. The first official launch of a Zircon dates from October 2020. Other tests have taken place since then in the Russian Arctic, notably from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov and from a submarine.
The last test firing of this missile was on 16 December. In the context of tensions with Western countries, in particular with Washington, Russia has multiplied its announcements of the development of new weapons presented by Mr. Putin as invincible, such as the Zircon. With a maximum range of around 1,000 kilometers, this weapon is to be used on surface ships and submarines in the Russian fleet. The first new generation Avangard hypersonic missiles, capable of reaching a speed of Mach 27 and changing course and altitude, were for their part put into service in the Russian army in December 2019. Russia is also seeking to develop its weapons for use in space. In mid-November, it pulverized an old Soviet satellite in orbit, drawing the ire of Westerners who accused it of endangering the International Space Station (ISS) by causing a debris cloud.