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Russia shows off Zircon hypersonic cruise missile in test-launch at sea

tsirkon (zircon) hypersonic cruise missile is fired from guided missile frigate admiral gorshkov
File photo: Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile is fired from guided missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov in the White Sea in this still image taken from video from the Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via Reuters

Russia successfully test-fired a hypersonic Zircon cruise missile over a distance of about 1,000 km (625 miles), the defence ministry said on Saturday.

The missile was fired from the Barents Sea and hit a target in the White Sea, it said. Video released by the ministry showed the missile being fired from a ship and blazing into the sky on a steep trajectory.

President Vladimir Putin has described the Zircon as part of a new generation of unrivalled arms systems. Hypersonic weapons can travel at nine times the speed of sound, and Russia has conducted previous test-launches of the Zircon from warships and submarines in the past year.

Russia’s military has suffered heavy losses of men and equipment during its three-month invasion of Ukraine, which it calls a “special operation”, but it has continued to stage high-profile weapons tests to remind the world of its prowess in missile technology.

Last month it test-launched a new nuclear-capable intercontinental missile, the Sarmat, capable of carrying 10 or more warheads and striking the United States.

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