Russia test-fires new hypersonic missile from a nuclear submarine

In this photo taken from video distributed by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Oct. 4, a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is launched by a submarine from the Barents Sea. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

In this photo taken from video distributed by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Oct. 4, a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is launched by a submarine from the Barents Sea.

A prospective Russian hypersonic missile has been successfully test-fired from a nuclear submarine for the first time, the military said Monday.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the Zircon missile was launched from the Severodvinsk submarine and hit a designated mock target in the Barents Sea.

The launch marked Zircon’s first launch from a submarine. It previously has been repeatedly test-fired from a navy frigate, most recently in July.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Zircon would be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,000 kilometres (620 miles). Putin has emphasized that its deployment will significantly boost Russian military capability.

Officials said Zircon’s tests are to be completed later this year and it will be commissioned by the Russian navy in 2022.

Zircon is intended to arm Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines. It is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia.

The Kremlin has made modernizing the country’s arsenals a top priority amid the tensions with the West that followed Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

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