The Zircon missile has a maximum range of up to 1,000 km, maximum cruising speed of Mach 9
Thanks to the installation of a scramjet engine, 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 in the second stage accelerates it to hypersonic speeds.
Russia takes the development of hypersonic weapons very seriously and now has three types of hypersonic missiles. The Zircon missile is essentially an anti-ship hypersonic missile. Its combat methods follow the philosophy of long-range supersonic attacks of the Soviet navy.
During the Cold War, to deal with the aggressive US carrier strike groups, the Soviet navy formed an air and sea reconnaissance complex as a premise. Platforms were surface, underwater and aerial launchers. Anti-ship supersonic missiles were the primary weapon in the attack againts aircraft carriers.
According to the philosophy of the Soviet Navy, the supersonic anti-ship missiles launched by different launchers can create an attack “wave”. It once scared the American carrier group until the Aegis defense system emerged. Aegis has significantly improved the ability of US warships to detect, and intercept against aerial targets.
On August 12, 2000, the incident of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk occurred and the Russian Granit heavy anti-ship missile was revealed. This was the core weapon in the anti-carrier system of the Soviet Union. Granite is an anti-ship cruise missile using a secondary combustion engine, with a range of 550 km and a final stage flight speed of Mach 2.5.
Since then, Russia has continually improved its technology and successfully built the Zircon missile with significantly reduced mass. The speed increased significantly, up to Mach 9, and its range also reached thousands of kilometers, enough to launch from a safer distance and make the reaction time of the enemy defense systems shorter.
The recent missile test showed that the Zircon missile was launched by the 3S-14 vertical launch system on the Admiral Gorshkov frigate. This is also the launch system of the Kalibr cruise missile. This shows that the Zircon missile has been designed with flexibility in the use of launchers.
The Zircon missile can be deployed on all Russian warships, equipped with the 3S-14 vertical launch system, regardless of whether the 22350 class, the 4,000-ton class frigates or missile warships with displacement of less than 1,000 tons. Warships, after being installed this vertical launch system, can launch Zircon missiles.