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Russia conducts first submarine test launches of Tsirkon hypersonic missile

A still from the video released by the Russian MoD on 4 October showing the Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile being test launched from a submarine for the first time. (Russian MoD)

Russia's Northern Fleet Command has conducted its first two successful test launches of the 3M22 Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile from the Project 885 Yasen-class nuclear-powered guide-missile submarine Severodvinsk against targets in the Barents Sea, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 4 October.

According to a 4 October video released on the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) YouTube account, the first launch was conducted from a surfaced position. A second submerged launch from a depth of 40 m was reported via the MoD's FaceBook account later the same day.

“The missile was aimed at a naval target located in the Barents Sea,” the Russian MoD caption accompanying the YouTube video of the first launch said. “According to the objective-monitoring data, the flight course of the missile matched the specified parameters. The submarine-based Tsirkon missile test launch has been considered a success,” it added. Similar remarks were made of the submerged launch.

Further submerged launches from Severodvinsk are planned for November, according to a 4 October TASS article, citing sources in the “military-industrial complex”.

Tsirkon is a scramjet-powered cruise missile with likely range estimates that vary from 400 to 1,000 km (a distance around the middle of this range is probable) at speeds of Mach 5, although a speed of Mach 8 has been achieved during trials, according to one report by TASS.

It was previously tested with launches from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov

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