Russia said on Monday it had successfully tested a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile, a weapon President Vladimir Putin has touted as part of a new generation of missile systems without equal in the world.
- The missile flew at seven times the speed of sound
- It hit a target more than 350 kilometres away
- NATO allies say they will respond in a measured way to Russia’s growing capabilities
Russia’s Defence Ministry said the Tsirkon missile was launched from the Admiral Groshkov frigate in the White Sea.
The Ministry said the missile flew at seven times the speed of sound and successfully hit a target more than 350 kilometres away on the coast of the Barents Sea.
Few counties have developed hypersonic missiles, which are meant to have less warning of arrival and be more challenging to intercept, and can deliver nuclear warheads.
Mr Putin has said Tsirkon would be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,000 kilometres.
He has emphasized that its deployment will significantly boost Russian military capability.
The Russian navy has conducted several previous test launches of the new missile, including one on Mr Putin’s birthday in October, and officials said the tests were to be completed later this year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile was without equal in the world. (Reuters: Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool
Russia intends to arm its cruisers, frigates and submarines with the Tsirkon, one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia.
NATO responded to Monday’s test with a statement claiming Russia’s missile development created “a greater risk of escalation and miscalculation”.
“Russia’s new hypersonic missiles are highly destabilising and pose significant risks to security and stability across the Euro-Atlantic area,” the statement said.
“NATO allies are committed to responding in a measured way to Russia’s growing array of conventional and nuclear-capable missiles, the alliance said.
“We will not mirror what Russia does, but we will maintain credible deterrence and defence, to protect our nations.
The Kremlin has made modernising the countrys arsenals a top priority amid tensions with the West following Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.