PUTIN POWER:Russia ‘successfully’ tests Putin’s new hypersonic missile capable of ‘evading all Western defences to wipe out cities’
The deadly Zircon – or Tsirkon was unleashed at a speed of Mach 7 at a land target from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov in the White Sea off the northwest coast of Russia.
The target more than 220 miles away was hit in the Zircon’s first state trial and the missile’s “tactical and technical characteristics were confirmed”, reported state-owned RIA Novosti and Defence Ministry TV channel Zvezda.
No further details were immediately given of the White Sea trial.
Last week it was revealed Russia was set to begin final tests of the hypersonic missile.
The Zircon has been identified by Moscow’s state-controlled TV as Putin’s weapon of choice to wipe out coastal American cities in the event of a nuclear conflict.
The Kremlin leader has called the Mach 8-capable Zircon “truly unparalleled in the world”, and the Russians have boasted it is “unstoppable” by Western defences.
The launch came the day after TASS news agency had suggested a delay in state trials of the missile until August, although they had been scheduled for July.
Tests of the Zircon from submarines and land are due soon.
The missile is on track to go into service next year, deployed first from the stealth-technology Admiral Golovko frigate.
A key use of the missile is taking out enemy ships and reports suggested its maximum range is between 188 and 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 foreign spies have tried to steal its secrets.
It is one of a number of hypersonic missiles Russia is developing including the 188-tonne Sarmat – known in the West as Satan-2 and the biggest beast in Russia’s nuclear arsenal, due for tests in the autumn, and to go into service next year.
The first Zircon test launch of the missile from the Gorshkov was staged in early October – and seen as a 68th birthday present for Putin.
More test launches followed in November and December.
The weapon was fired four times from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate in the Arctic back in March and military sources said all had “hit the ‘bullseye’”.