Russia Test Launches New Hypersonic Missile From Nuclear Submarine

The Russian military on Monday announced that it has successfully test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile from a nuclear-powered submarine for the first time.

The tests involved two missiles and took place in the Barents Sea in the Arctic, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed, adding that the missiles destroyed its mock targets.

“The test-firing of the Tsirkon missile from a nuclear submarine was deemed successful,” the ministry said.

It first test-launched Tsirkon from the surface, and then fired another missile from a submerged position in the White Sea.

According to a source cited by local news agency TASS, Russia has another launch scheduled in November. The second test will also be fired from the Severodvinsk nuclear-powered submarine, but “from underwater at a sea target.”

Low-quality video footage made public by the ministry showed a missile being launched upwards from the submarine at nighttime.

The launch marked Tsirkon’s first from a submarine. Previously, it had been repeatedly test-fired from a navy frigate, most recently in July.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Tsirkon would be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 620 miles. Putin has emphasized that its deployment will significantly boost Russia’s military capability.

According to sources cited by TASS, the first test from the nuclear-powered submarine was postponed from September to October due to the need to carry out all technical preparations.

The network reported that two Tsirkon launches are scheduled to be performed later this year, with the same trials continuing into 2022.

Tsirkon is intended to arm Russian cruisers, frigates, and submarines. It is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia.

The Kremlin has made modernizing the country’s arsenal a top priority amid the tensions with the West that followed Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.