The Zircon hypersonic missile test was successfully concluded, and the battleship Admiral Gorshkov was declared “combat ready” in time for the extended patrol. The corvette Admiral Gorshkov is now ready for an extended deployment at sea.
Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet announced on December 28 that “the final testing stage was undertaken during a test trip to the Barents Sea training range, during which the crew completed the given responsibilities.”
This news follows a statement from Russian President Vladimir Putin a week ago that the Admiral Gorshkov ship would commence combat patrols in early January 2023 armed with Zircon hypersonic missiles.
“This is a weapon system unmatched in the world, and Russia will continue to develop hypersonic missiles with special features,” he said.
One of Russia’s hypersonic weapons, the 3M22 Zircon, has been called “invincible” by President Putin.
In a speech given in February 2019, the Kremlin leader boasted that the Zircon missile had a range of 1,000 kilometers, could travel at a speed of more than 11,000 kilometers per hour (nine times the speed of sound), and could destroy both marine and land targets.
Russia’s first test launch of the Zircon missile occurred in October 2020, and in 2021, the country performed 12 test launches from surface ships and submarines, all of which were successful.
The Admiral Gorshkov, the first vessel from Project 22350, entered service in 2018 and serves as the primary platform for testing surface-to-air Zircon missiles.
It is the first time since the late 19th century that a Russian naval ship has circumnavigated the globe, and the battleship has already patrolled nearly 35,000 nautical kilometers.
The Project 22350 class of heavy stealth corvettes is Russia’s first new warship class since the conclusion of the Cold War. Russia has put into service three ships, is currently constructing five more for deployment in 2024–2026, and has placed orders for two more.
The Russian navy’s long-range combat capabilities are planned to be bolstered by the 5,400-ton Project 22350 destroyer. This vessel will perform a variety of roles, including long-range attack, anti-submarine warfare, and air defense.
The ship is armed with state-of-the-art weaponry, including sixteen vertical launch tubes for the P-800 Oniks supersonic anti-ship missile, the versatile Kalibr missile system, and the zircon hypersonic missile.