With the 3M22 Tzirkon anti-ship missile, the Russian Navy wins in Europe

Left fallow for nearly 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the reconstruction of Russia's maritime power, as well as the country's military naval industry, is now beginning to show the fruits of Moscow's efforts over the past 10 years. With the entry into service of new Project 22350 Admiral Gorshkov frigates, Steregushchyi corvettes from project 20380 and Gremyashchyi from Project 20385, conventional submarines Project 636.3 Improved Kilo, And nuclear powered submarines Project 885-M Iassen-M and project 955 Boreï-A, it now has ships that have nothing to envy their Western counterparts, quite the contrary. But one weapon, which is said to be imminent in service, could well give Russian ships a more than significant advantage, the 3M22 Tzirkon hypersonic anti-ship missile.

If public references to the Tzirkon multiplied at the end of the 2010s, the program that gave birth to it, entrusted to the NPO missile Mashinostroyeniya, would be much older, and would have been started at the start of the 90s. that until recently, no one considered the Russian Navy as a major potential adversary, which struggled, at the end of the 2000s, to maintain a single nuclear submarine launcher of missiles, yet the pivot of deterrence from the country, to the sea, and of which the majority of the large naval units hardly exceeded 30 days at sea per year at that time. But the efforts in favor of the modernization of this fleet, but also of the industrial infrastructures intended to produce and maintain these ships, started in 2012, quickly changed the situation, and the number of Russian ships at sea has grown rapidly in recent years.

The first test of the 3M22 Tzirkon missile took place in April 2017. Since then, the missile has been tested numerous times, including on board the Admiral Gorshkov frigate and its 3S14 UKSK silos.

At the same time, the 3M22 program has reached maturity, and its heralded characteristics soon began to become a matter of real concern in the West, although many were, until recently, doubtful that a hypersonic missile could be able to strike a ship overboard in motion. . Recent tests carried out by the missile, including the last one took place last week paving the way for state qualification testing, showed that not only was the Tzirkon really hypersonic, since it had reached speeds of Mach 7 and even Mach 8, but that its range was indeed consistent (without demonstrating the 1000 km announced), and especially that it was able to reach mobile targets at sea, as well as land targets, with great precision.


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