Russia unleashes 'unstoppable' 6,670mph Zircon hypersonic missile from nuclear sub for the first time amid WW3 fears
RUSSIA said today it has successfully test fired its new lethal Zircon hypersonic missile from a submarine for the first time.
Video footage shows the 6,670mph rocket being fired from the nuclear-powered sub Severodvinsk before streaking into the night sky.
The weapon was launched from the surface in the White Sea and successfully hit a target in the Barents Sea, said the defence ministry in Moscow.
Russia claims the "unstoppable" Mach 9 missile is able to evade all Western defences.
"The Russian navy carried out the first tests of the Zircon hypersonic missile from the Severodvinsk nuclear submarine," said an official statement.
"The missile was test fired at a conditional sea target in the Barents Sea.
"The test-firing of the Zircon missile from the nuclear submarine was recognised as successful.”
Russia said last week said it had completed flight tests of the new-age missile from a frigate, the Admiral Gorshkov, and a coastal mount.
Being able to fire it from a submarine adds extra mobility to the already terrifying weapon.
Another submarine test launch is planned this year.
The Russian announcement follows the Pentagon last week saying the US had tested an air-breathing hypersonic weapon capable of speeds faster than five times the speed of sound.
China and North Korea are also developing hypsersonic missiles in a new nuclear arms race.
The Zircon is due to go into service next year, deployed first from the stealth-technology Admiral Golovko frigate.
It has been identified by Moscow’s state-controlled TV as Vladimir Putin’s weapon of choice to wipe out coastal American cities in the event of a nuclear conflict.
He has called the missile “truly unparalleled in the world”, and the Russians have boasted it is “unstoppable” by Western defences.
Kremlin deputy premier Yury Borisov says Russia has outpaced the West in high-tech weaponry – and intends to maintain its lead.
“We have broken forward, specifically, in the sphere of hypersonic weapons and (those) based on new physical principles,” he said recently.
“We now have serious advantages in this regard over the leading Western countries – and will try to maintain this position.”
A key use of the missile is taking out enemy ships and reports suggested its maximum range is 620 miles.
But there have been unconfirmed reports its true range is some 1,200 miles.
The missile system’s design and development have been conducted in deep secrecy.
Putin has warned that foreign spies have tried to steal its secrets.
It is one of a number of new-generation missiles Russia is deploying including the 188-ton Sarmat, known in the West as Satan-2.
Sarmat will be the biggest beast in Russia’s nuclear arsenal, and is due for tests in the autumn with deployment planned for next year.
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