British warships follow Russian frigates with hypersonic missiles.

The British Navy dispatched the warship HMS Portland to monitor the frigate Admiral Gorshkov as the Russian warship moved near the country.

“HMS Portland is monitoring the Russian guided-missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov and the Russian oil tanker Kama as they sail in international waters near the UK. The Portland frigate and the accompanying Merlin helicopter are monitoring and reporting.

 Every move of the Russian naval group,” the British Ministry of Defense said in a statement on January 11. Navy lieutenant colonel Ed Moss-Ward, the captain of HMS Portland, said surveillance and escort of foreign warships in the waters adjacent to the UK was “normal activity.”

“The British Navy maintains a permanent presence to ensure that all parties comply with the rules of the Sea, deter bad behavior, and protect national interests. The coordinated process with NATO allies to monitor Russia’s fleet of warships shows Britain’s commitment to the alliance,” added Lieutenant Colonel Moss-Ward.

The Admiral Gorshkov missile corvette carrying the Zircon hypersonic missile left the port and began a long sea patrol on January 4. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the Admiral Gorshkov frigate would go to the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and Mediterranean.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on January 10 that Admiral Gorshkov’s ship held an air defense exercise in strong sea conditions while moving through the Norwegian Sea.

The Admiral Gorshkov, the first of the Project 22350 vessels, entered service in 2018 and serves as the primary platform for testing surface-to-air Zircon missiles. This is the first time a Russian naval ship has gone around the world since the late 19th century when the battleship completed a patrol of more than 35,000 nautical miles.

The Project 22350 heavy stealth corvettes are the most cutting-edge warships in the Russian Navy. They were the first such vessels to be constructed by Russia following the conclusion of the Cold War. Russia has put into service three ships, is constructing five more for deployment in 2024–2026, and has placed an order for two more.

The Project 22350 warship has a displacement of 5,400 tons, undertaking many tasks such as a long-range attack, anti-submarine warfare, and air defense, which is expected to improve the Russian Navy’s long-range combat capability. 

The ship is equipped with many modern weapons, including 16 vertical launch tubes for the P-800 Oniks supersonic anti-ship missile, the multi-purpose Kalibr missile system, or the Zircon hypersonic missile.

3M22 Zircon is one of several hypersonic weapons developed by Russia, praised by President Putin as an “invincible weapon.” The Kremlin boss first revealed the Zircon missile in a speech in February 2019, saying that the weapon can hit sea and ground targets within a range of 1,000 km at a speed of more than 11,000 km. /h, nine times the sound.

Russia first fired the Zircon missile in October 2020 and conducted 12 test launches from surface ships and submarines in 2021, all of which hit the target.

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