Russia Will Be The First To Deploy Hypersonic Missiles On Submarines

As far as hypersonic development, the Russian Navy is far outpacing the US Navy. Russia is expected to be the first country to deploy hypersonic cruise missiles on submarines, reported Forbes

Earlier this year Russian sources told Forbes that submarine-launched hypersonic missile tests would be conducted in 2020.

The missile in focus is called 3M22 Zircon, a scramjet-powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile that will be launched from the latest nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine called the K-561 Kazan. 

Zircon is a winged hypersonic cruise missile that can travel at Mach 8 to Mach 9 (6,090 to 6,851 mph). The missile's range is estimated at 620 miles, can already be launched from aircraft, ships, ground-based launch systems, and soon to be submarines. 

Forbes said the Russian Navy is going through an unprecedented transformation, ever since it started launching cruise missiles from submarines into Syria. Before that, Russia developed its cruise missiles, fired from submarines, for anti-ship operations. 

"For much of the Cold War, the missiles carried by Russian submarines were focused on hitting ships at sea, particularly the US Navy's formidable aircraft carriers. It was not until the conflict in Syria that Russia began using submarine launched cruise missiles in a similar way to the US Navy's Tomahawk missile; as a long-range surgical strike weapon." 

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile is primarily launched from submarines and ships by the US Navy and Royal Navy. It flies at Mach 0.75 (575 mph) with a range 1,550 miles. 

Russia's new missile is so advanced that upon it being deployed by submarines, it would create a significant power shift away from the US Navy. The shift in power would add a new layer of deterrence for Russia that would have the US Navy very concerned, that is because the US Navy doesn't have any countermeasures against hypersonic weapons. 

A submarine-launched missile test of the Zircon could pave the way for deployment in the near term. 

Forbes said by 2030 Russia could have at least eight submarines armed with Zircon missiles, and 17 by 2040. 

And in a bizarre report earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin revealed he was ready to sell the US some of Russia's hypersonic missiles, if President Trump was willing to return to serious strategic arms talks after the US-backed out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). 

Last year Russia's defense ministry touted a range of experimental weapons it said could counter and evade any US anti-aircraft defense measures, including a nuclear-powered missile that could traverse the globe endlessly. 

For a glimpse of a land-based launch of a Russian hypersonic missile, Russia-24 published a video from the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation that shows a successful launch of a new hypersonic interceptor missile.

So the question we ask: Is Russia winning the hypersonic development race?

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