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Current Affairs

Zircon missile

Date: 31 May 2022 Tags: Military

Issue

The Russian Navy carried out test of a prospective hypersonic cruise missile called Zircon.

 

Background

The test was conducted to demonstrate military’s long-range strike capability amid the war in Ukraine.

 

Details

  • The Zircon is expected to enter service later this year. The test was carried between Barents Sea and the White Sea.

  • Zircon is a hybrid cruise missile and ballistic missile, unlike traditional hypersonic missiles that are powered by scramjets.

 

Capabilities

  • Zircon missile is capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and has a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).

  • The missile can be used on board Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines and could be used against both enemy ships and ground targets.

 

Targets

  • The Zircon missile is targeted at US Naval assets, especially nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

  • Even the most advanced US aircraft carriers are said to be vulnerable against Zircon missile.

  • Aircraft carriers will have only one minute to respond even if they detect the missile 100 miles away.

 

Hypersonic missiles

  • Hypersonic missiles travel at Mach 5 or faster (five times the speed of sound). They are difficult to be tracked due to their low trajectory, high speed, and maneuverability.

Capability of hypersonic missiles

They have higher penetration and destructive power due to its very high speed.

Barents Sea

  • Barents Sea is a marginal sea, which is a part of Arctic Ocean. It is located off northern coasts of Norway and Russia.

  • It is an important site for hydrocarbon exploration and fishing.

 

White Sea

  • It is a semi-enclosed extension of Arctic Ocean. It is located at the north-west corner of Russia.

  • White Sea is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast.