TASS News Agency
Russia is developing a new “aircraft carrier killer” — ballistic missile Zmeevik with a hypersonic warhead for the Navy, two sources close to the Defense Ministry and the military-industrial complex told TASS.
“The Zmeevik ballistic missile with hypersonic combat equipment has been in development for quite a long time. It is designed to destroy large surface targets, primarily aircraft carriers.”
Source of TASS Agency
Another source said the missile could enter service with coastal missile units of the Navy. One of the sources added that in terms of its characteristics, the Zmeevik resembles Chinese missiles of a similar class — DF-21D and DF-26 with a range of up to 4,000 km.
NPO mashinostroenia enterprise in Reutov, which designed hypersonic Tsirkon anti-ship missile, Avangard reentry vehicles for ICBM Sarmat and Onyx supersonic missiles refused to comment.
Naval News comments
After the end of the Cold War, the Russian Navy lost its ability to be a “Blue Water Navy” due to the lack of aircraft carrier task forces. Since the Russian Navy’s only aircraft carrier, Kuznetsov, has been under maintenance for several years and has suffered serious accidents, Russia doesn’t appear to have a solid carrier battle group in the near future.
Although the Slava-class cruisers are configured to destroy aircraft carriers with the P-1000 Vulcan missiles they carry, the Moskva incident during the Russo-Ukrainian War exposed the weaknesses of these ships even against powerful subsonic missiles.
Tsirkon missiles can be considered a deterrent because the U.S. hasn’t been able to develop a solid defence system against hypersonic missiles. Zmeevik, a land-based hypersonic long-range missile, will be a solid capability and a complementary force to enhance Russia’s A2/AD until the U.S. and its allies gain the ability to counter hypersonic missiles. Both the U.S. (with the Glide Phase Interceptor or GPI) and Europe (with the TWISTER project) have ongoing projects to gain the capability to counter such threats, which aren’t fully proven anyway (including Tsirkon).