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Russia reports successful test launch of hypersonic missile

Written by on 19/07/2021

Russia’s military has reported another successful test launch of the new Zircon (Tsirkon) hypersonic cruise missile.

The missile was fired from the Admiral Gorshkov in the White Sea and hit a target on the coast of the Barents Sea, more than 217 miles (350km) away.

President Vladimir Putin has previously touted the weapon as part of a new generation of missile systems.

The defence ministry said the missile travelled at around seven times the speed of sound before hitting its target.

“The tactical and technical characteristics of the Tsirkon missile were confirmed during the tests,” the ministry said.

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Mr Putin had previously said the missile would be capable of flying nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 620 miles (1,000km), with the country hoping to fit the missile system to its submarines and surface ships.

The military also tested the weapon in October, on the president’s birthday, with Mr Putin hailing it as a “big event” for Russia.

Vladimir Putin makes ominous remark about 'sinking a British destroyer'
Image: President Vladimir Putin has previously remarked the hypersonic missile can travel nine times the speed of sound

The president announced the hypersonic weapons in 2018 in one of his most aggressive speeches in years, saying they could hit almost any point in the world and evade a US-built missile shield.

The following year, he threatened to deploy hypersonic missiles on ships and submarines that could wait outside US territorial waters if America moved to deploy intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe.

Washington has not deployed such missiles in Europe, but Moscow is worried it might.

President Biden and President Putin meet in Geneva
Image: President Joe Biden and Mr Putin announced an extension of the START treaty in February during a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland

In December 2020, Mr Putin said in his annual news conference that Russia is developing hypersonic weapons in response to a new arms race, which he says was triggered by the US.

The Russian leader wanted the US to agree to a one-year extension of the START treaty, which maintains a nuclear balance between the two nations and expired in February.

The US and Russia agreed to extend the treaty in February during a meeting in Geneva.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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