Russian President Vladimir Putin declared on Oct. 31 that the Zircon hypersonic cruise missile will “certainly” be onboard the Russian Navy’s newest corvette, set to enter service next month, according to a report in Business Insider.
The Zircon missile, while reportedly still under development, cannot be intercepted by any defense systems currently in use, according to Russian state media outlet TASS.
Putin toured the corvette Gremyashchi (thunderous) on a visit to the northwestern Russian city of Kaliningrad last Thursday. “It will certainly have Tsirkon,” Putin told Defense Minister Sergei Shoyu.
The Zircon missile reportedly travels at nine times the speed of sound; the term “hypersonic” is generally understood to mean an object travels at least five times the speed of sound, the report said.
The missile was still under development as of February, when Russia-1, the state television station, threatened five US positions including the Pentagon, saying that the Zircon missile could hit the targets in less than five minutes.
Also in February, Putin claimed in his Address to the Federal Assembly that the missile’s development was progressing according to schedule.
Putin used the missile to brazenly threaten the US should it deploy any new nuclear missiles closer to Russia as the INF treaty began to unravel in February, the report said.
“You work it out: Mach nine, and over 1,000 kilometres,” Putin told Russian media at the time.
While the claims of Russian state media and Russian leadership are impossible to verify, Putin has said that the Zircon can destroy both sea and land targets.
The Zircon, or Tsirkon, is compatible with the Kalibr missile systems, which are already aboard the Gremyashchiy corvette, according to the Center for Strategic International Studies’ Missile Threat project.
The Gremyashchiy is the first corvette in the Pacific Fleet to carry the Kalibr missiles.
RT reports that the Gremyashchiy is currently completing sea trials and is due to officially join the Pacific Fleet in late December. It is designed to combat submarines and other vessels, as well as assist in amphibious assaults.