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Russian equipping warship with hypersonic anti-ship missiles

Russia's Gremyashchy corvette warship. (Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation/Released)
November 08, 2019

Russia’s newest warship is expected to be equipped with the Zicron versatile anti-ship cruise missiles, Russian President Vladimir Putin said aboard the vessel Oct. 31.

The warship, called the Gremyashchiy, was expected to carry 8 Kalibr land-attack cruise missiles, according to Forbes. The captain of the ship said it can be fitted with 3M22 Zircon sea-based hypersonic missiles, which are currently in development. Putin reportedly said, “the Zircons will certainly be there.”

The 3M22 Zircon was developed by Russia has a range of about 155 to 310 miles at low level, and up to 462 in a semi-ballistic trajectory. According to state-owned media, the longest possible range is 621 miles, which required a new fuel type to be created.

The scramjet-powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile provides the Russian Navy a weapon with the maneuvering capabilities of a cruise missile, while giving it increased survivability against modern ballistic missile defense systems. It can travel at seven times the speed of sound, or about 5,600 miles per hour.

The Gremyashchiy is the Project 20385 lead corvette placed down on February 1, 2012. It floated out in June 2017. There are reportedly two in service, both operating in the Pacific, with another two in development.

The ship is also armed with two 30mm AK-630M close-in weapons systems for defense against enemy aircraft, a 16-cell launcher, which uses a number of 9K96 surface-to-air missiles to defend air targets, and a 100mm А190-01 lightweight multi-purpose naval artillery gun, which is mounted in the bow to engage enemy surface ships, coastal and air targets.

The corvettes of this Project were developed by the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau and are designed to detect and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships, while also providing for troop landing and cope with numerous green-water tasks.

The possibility of the Zicron on the Gremyashchiy may provide challenges for the Aegis Combat System that the U.S., Japanese, South Korean and Australian Navies use in the region.

Russia is closer to using hypersonic missiles, but other countries have experimented with them. The Zircon, according to a Russian General, was first tested in 2012 and is already equipped on a number of Russian ships.

The Russian Navy has been expanding its forces lately, recently developing a laser that reportedly causes hallucinations.

The weapon, 5P-42 Filin, is equipped on two Russian warships in the Arctic Ocean, the Admiral Gorshkov and Admiral Kasatonov.

“It is designed to suppress at night and at dusk visual-optical and optical-electronic channels of observation and aiming of small arms, as well as melee weapons used against surface ships and naval boats. The station’s action is based on the modulation of the brightness of the light emitted by the low-frequency oscillations of the brightness due to the excitation of the optic nerves causing temporary reversible visual impairments,” Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported.