TASS Russian news agency
Tsirkon test launch from a warship was scheduled in late 2019, but took place in January 2020. The Admiral Gorshkov frigate of project 22350 fired the missile from the Barents Sea. TASS quoted its sources as saying the missile flew over 500 km to a target at a range in northern Urals. It was not specified whether the missile has reached the target and hit it. No official confirmation, no footage or other details were provided.
Any missile has to undergo a specified cycle of trials ranging from pop-up tests to launches which have to confirm its operability in close to combat conditions. Tsirkon began trials several years ago.
The Admiral Gorshkov was chosen for Tsirkon trials from the very beginning. It is armed with Kalibr and Onix missiles and its universal vertical launchers can fire hypersonic missiles. A successful Tsirkon test launch was held from a coastal platform in December 2018. Even the Americans acknowledged the fact and Mach 8 speed which no other missile in the world can develop.
Media reports said the successful test launch allowed to begin sea trials. The Admiral Gorshkov is likely to be followed by submarines. The Americans claim it may happen in 2020. The Russian Defense Ministry also named the date. Forbes said the Kazan K-561 Yasen-M-class SSGN of project 885M can test fire Tsirkon.
Tsirkon trials in January left many questions unanswered, including the announced 500-km flight. A map clearly shows a distance of at least a thousand kilometers from Northern fleet ranges in the Barents Sea to the range in northern Urals (President Vladimir Putin said in February 2019 Tsirkon range was over a thousand kilometers). Nothing was said about the time of supplies to the troops.
There is not a single available Tsirkon image so far, as the missile is a top secret of the Russian Defense Ministry. Its exterior can provide substantiated conclusions about combat characteristics. The expensive hypersonic missile has to have excellent combat effectiveness. No missile shield can intercept it and the strike will be like a lightning. In other words, a country with such military technologies can enjoy a major military-political edge.
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