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Russian Navy will perform another test launch with anti-ship 3M22 Tsirkon hypersonic missile.

| 2020

The Russian Navy Admiral Gorshkov frigate of project 22350 arrived in Belomorskaya naval base for maintenance and loading of hypersonic 3M22 Tsirkon missile for another test launch, a source in the defense industry told TASS. The Tsirkon is a scramjet powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile currently in testing by Russia.

Russian Navy will perform another test launch with anti ship 3M22 Tsirkon hypersonic missile 925 001 Russian Navy Admiral Gorshkov frigate of project 22350. (Picture source Twitter Missilito)

According to the Russian Navy, a second test launch of Tsirkon is scheduled in April-May of this year. According to news published in March 2020, Russia organized top secret trials of Tsirkon hypersonic missile.

Tsirkon test launch from a warship was scheduled in late 2019, but took place in January 2020. The Admiral Gorshkov frigate of project 22350 fired the missile from the Barents Sea. TASS quoted its sources as saying the missile flew over 500 km to a target at a range in northern Urals. It was not specified whether the missile has reached the target and hit it.

The Admiral Gorshkov was chosen for Tsirkon trials from the very beginning. It is armed with Kalibr and Onix missiles and its universal vertical launchers can fire hypersonic missiles. A successful Tsirkon test launch was held from a coastal platform in December 2018. Even the Americans acknowledged the fact and Mach 8 speed which no other missile in the world can develop.

Tsirkon is mostly an antiship missile, but can also hit ground targets. It is fired by the same launchers as Onix P-800 and Kalibr 3M-54. Hypersonic missiles can be fired by heavy warships, including the prospective nuclear Leader-class destroyer of project 23560, Yasen-M-class nuclear submarines of project 885M, Antey-class project 949AM and prospective fifth-generation nuclear submarines.

Tsirkon like Kalibr can be fired by ground launchers. In this case, it will mostly target US intermediate-range ballistic missile launchers if they are deployed in Europe and the Pacific region, the Vzglyad said.

The technical and tactical characteristics are not disclosed, but according to Internet sources, the hypersonic 3M-22 missile was designed by NPO-machinostroeniya in Reutov in Moscow region. It is a part of 3K-22 (Tsirkon code) complex which NATO reports as SS-N-33. The missile can develop a speed of Mach 9 and fly at an altitude of 30-40 km where the range and speed increase as air resistance is smaller. Experts estimate the payload at 300-400 kg and the missile length at 8-10 meters. Tsirkon is to be fired from universal vertical launchers 3S-14 on warships and submarines and from Bastion mobile coastal missile launchers.

The Admiral Gorshkov class, Russian designation Project 22350, is the newest class of frigates being built by the Severnaya Verf in Saint Petersburg for the Russian Navy. The class was designed by the Severnoye Design Bureau and incorporates use of stealth technology.

The armament of Admiral Gorshkov frigate includes 1×130 mm Amethyst/Arsenal A-192M naval gun, 16 (2×8) UKSK VLS cells for Kalibr, Oniks or Zircon anti-ship cruise missiles, 24 (3×8) UKSK VLS cells for Kalibr, Oniks or Zircon missiles (Admiral Amelko and Admiral Chichagov), 32 (2×16) Redut VLS cells for 9M96, 9M96M, 9M96D/9M96DM(M2) and/or quad-packed 9M100 surface-to-air missiles, 2 Kashtan CIWS, 2×4 330 mm torpedo tubes for Paket-NK anti-torpedo/anti-submarine torpedoes and 2 14.5 mm MTPU pedestal machine guns.

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