Russia successfully test runs hypersonic cruise missile

Russia completed a successful test launch of 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.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Monday the missile was launched from an Admiral Gorshkov, a warship located in the White Sea, in the north of Russia.

The ministry said the missile travelled at around seven times the speed of sound before successfully hitting a ground target on the coastline of the Barents Sea more than 350km away.

“The tactical and technical characteristics of the Tsirkon missile were confirmed during the tests,” the ministry said.

Russia plans to fit the Tsirkon missile system to its submarines and surface ships.

Putin has previously claimed the Tsirkon missile would be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,000km.

But some Western experts have questioned how advanced Russia’s new generation of weapons is, while recognising that the combination of speed, manoeuvrability and altitude of hypersonic missiles makes them difficult to track and intercept.

An earlier test launch of the Tsirkon missile took place in October, on Putin’s birthday.