Russia develops "light" airborne version of Tzirkon anti-ship hypersonic missile

Since the entry into service of Kh47m2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile Within the Russian air force in at the end of 2017, the country took a comfortable lead vis-à-vis other nations, and in particular the United States, in this area. And the conclusive tests of 3M22 Tzirkhon hypersonic anti-ship system Driven in recent months have only reinforced this state of affairs, especially since unlike the Kinzhal, the Tzirkon uses a new Scramjet-type engine for its propulsion. It is precisely on the basis of a brand new scramjet designated "Object 70" (Izdelie 70), more compact than the one used on board the Tzirkon, that the Russian engineers had confirmed the development of a new hypersonic Air-Ground missile. able to take place in the holds of the new Su-57 fighter and UAV S70 Okhotnik-B, the Gremlin or GZUR missile, developed since 2018 by the Tactical Missile Armament Corporation (KTRV), and wanting, in fact, a mini-Kinzhal. In February of this year, the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, specified that the tests on this new missile would begin in 2023.

However, the imminent arrival of the Gremlin only met part of the needs of the Russian air and naval forces, which even today use the heavy and cumbersome Kh-31 missile for anti-ship strikes, a missile that does not cannot take place in the holds of new Russian aircraft. There were many allusions to the development of a miniaturized version of the Tzirkon, without however a formal confirmation of development having been disclosed. It is now done. In an article published by the Russian site Izvestia, we learn as well as the work for the design and prototyping of a new compact hypersonic missile intended to equip, among other things, Russian Su-57 and S-70, had started. The new missile, designated Larchinka-MD, has been developed since 2019 by the same design office KTRV which develops the Gremlin, from which it takes over the compact Izdelie 70 scramjet thruster.

The 3M22 Tzirkon anti-ship missile uses a comparable Scramjet-type engine but much larger than the Izdelie 70 which will propel the Larchinka-MD and the Gremlin

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