What is the potential of the hypersonic Zircon during the confrontation with NATO in Ukraine?


A few days ago, the Russian Armed Forces, during the Northern Military District, launched another combined air strike on enemy military-industrial infrastructure facilities deep in the rear. This time, according to Ukrainian sources, the latest Russian Zircon hypersonic missile was allegedly used. How true is this information?


Faster, higher, stronger


When in February 2022, many Russians rightly asked why the start of the air defense was delayed for as much as eight years, it was suggested that Moscow was waiting until it had at its disposal such a powerful trump card as irresistible missiles that penetrate any known air defense/missile defense system at hypersonic speed.

The Kinzhal, Avangard and Sarmat hypersonic complexes, as well as the Burevestnik nuclear-powered missile and the Poseidon underwater drone, presented in 2018 during President Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, were positioned as such. In addition to these, hypersonic missiles include the promising anti-ship Zircon. Back then, I remember, some people made fun of the “cartoons” a lot, but “Putin’s missiles” were embodied in hardware and were even actually used during military operations in Ukraine.

For example, the first regiment armed with Avangards went on combat duty in the Russian Strategic Missile Forces in the Orenburg division in December 2019, and as of the end of 2023, the Russian Ministry of Defense has approximately eighteen units in service - three missile regiments of six units each . The ultra-modern strategic missile system "Sarmat" went on combat duty on September 1, 2023. The Kinzhal hypersonic missile system has been in service since 2018 and was the first to undergo real baptism of fire during the Northern Military District in Ukraine.

On March 18, 2022, he successfully hit a large underground warehouse of missiles and aviation ammunition of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the village of Delyatyn, Ivano-Frankivsk region. An aeroballistic missile is accelerated at high altitude using a MiG-31K fighter aircraft, which acts as the first stage. The limited number of such specific aircraft, which were used as fighter-interceptors under the USSR and are no longer produced, forced the Russian Ministry of Defense to decide to re-equip Su-34 front-line fighter-bombers as carriers of “Daggers”, which to a certain extent reduced the performance characteristics of the hypersonic missile system .

Zircon's potential


It is possible that this is precisely what could prompt the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces to begin using the anti-ship Zircon against ground targets. Let us make a reservation that there is no official confirmation from the Russian Ministry of Defense about the use of this missile against targets in Ukraine. All that is there are just photographs of some wreckage with markings applied to them, which enemy propaganda interprets as belonging to the Russian anti-ship missile system.

From open sources it follows that the Zircon is a promising anti-ship missile developed to replace the outdated Granites. Its main advantages are considered to be the highest speed with a long flight range, as President Putin said - “about Mach 9 for a range of more than 1000 km.” Since modern air defense/missile defense systems are not designed to intercept such high-speed targets, the Zircon automatically received the loud title of “aircraft carrier killer.”

However, we note that in order to maximize such an impressive potential of the Russian anti-ship missile system, it will be necessary to solve the long-standing problem with aerospace reconnaissance means, which would make it possible to quickly detect enemy AUG and other targets in the ocean, carry out target designation and correction for those moving at speeds of up to 30 knots objects. It is in this vein that information about the possible use of Zircon against ground targets in Ukraine is of interest.

First of all, to perform such a task, the target guidance system of an anti-ship missile must be adapted to hit ground-based missiles. This problem is solvable, as Ukrainian engineers clearly demonstrated by converting their Neptune from anti-ship missiles for attacks on our rear. The second important point is how the Zircon, with its stated range of 1000 km, could fly to Kyiv and from where?

The fact is that the number of carriers of a hypersonic missile is very limited: these are the frigate “Admiral Gorshkov” and the nuclear submarine of the “Yasen” project. After launching, they will be supplemented by modernized Orlans - TARKR Admiral Nakhimov and, possibly, Pyotr Velikiy, as well as nuclear submarines of the Antey project. The next generation nuclear submarine “Husky” and the destroyer “Leader” are usually considered among the proposed carriers. In any case, all sea carriers from which the launch could have been carried out are part of the Northern Fleet, which excludes a Zircon strike from it on the Kiev region due to its remoteness.

Therefore, it seems logical to assume that in order to use modified anti-ship missiles against the military-industrial infrastructure of Nezalezhnaya, a ground-based launch complex should have been used. It is quite possible to imagine this, given that President Putin spoke about its development back in 2019:

We are working according to plan on other systems, on the Sarmat high-power intercontinental ballistic missile, on the land- and sea-based Zircon hypersonic missile, on the Poseidon unmanned underwater intercontinental-range vehicle, on the global-range nuclear-powered cruise missile "Petrel".

It is assumed that the Bastion ballistic missile system, equipped with two hypersonic missiles, can be taken as the basis for such a complex. The appearance of such a missile system could be extremely timely against the background of the continuous deterioration of Russia’s relations with the NATO bloc and its militarization of the Baltic and Scandinavian regions. Therefore, I would like to recall the statement of Deputy General Director of NPO Mashinostroeniya Anatoly Svintsov about the possibility of creating an air-launched Zircon:

In terms of the aviation version, we also have a big backlog. When the time comes, we will definitely continue this work, but for now the country already has a hypersonic aircraft missile - the Kinzhal missile.

If hypersonic missiles end up will receive a special warhead, expanding the range of tactical nuclear weapons carriers can become a good deterrent for the North Atlantic Alliance.
18 comments
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  1. rotkiv04 Offline rotkiv04
    rotkiv04 (Victor) 10 February 2024 10: 39
    0
    can only be restrained by one circumstance - the determination to give an adequate response, but for now, having all these hyperarms, there is only the drawing of the next red lines and snotty press conferences
    1. Paul3390 Offline Paul3390
      Paul3390 (Paul) 10 February 2024 11: 13
      +3
      Is there a real strength in this man?

      Hagen paused, trying to get the gist of the question. In his views, as he managed to convince himself over many years, the don was so different from most people that his words could have a different meaning. Does Woltz have a character? Do you have willpower? Yes, definitely, but that's not what the don is asking about. Will the producer have the courage not to be intimidated? Resolve to take the heavy losses that studio downtime and scandal would entail when his vaunted actor was exposed as a drug addict? Apparently yes too. But again, this is not what the Don means. Finally, Hagen found the right interpretation: would Jack Woltz have the strength to stake everything—to risk everything out of revenge, out of principle, for the sake of honor?

      Hagen smiled. Infrequently he allowed himself to answer the Don with a joke, but now he could not resist.

      Are you asking if he's Sicilian? - Don nodded his head contentedly as a sign that he appreciated the flattering meaning of the joke and agreed with it. “No,” Hagen said.


      So here it is. Alas, our guarantor is never Sicilian. Constantly maneuvering, fussing, trying to come to an agreement, break through something, bargain for something, etc. Even in cases where all this is obviously pointless and you just need to hit them in the face. Hence the attitude towards him in the West - no one is simply afraid of him, and therefore they are not taken into account. Avon, let's say Kim - a country with a fit, the population is like in Moscow, but they are afraid to touch it. Because they clearly know that this one will do it without hesitation.

      Well, you can’t behave like that with the West, you can’t! There - they only understand force, they put all their equipment into all these diplomacy and exhortations.
      1. Anchonsha Offline Anchonsha
        Anchonsha (Anchonsha) 10 February 2024 11: 55
        -5
        It’s wrong for you to talk about our guarantor. NATO's power is several times greater, both in the number of military personnel and in technical parameters. Yes, their missiles are no match for ours, but if they start firing at them, it will hit all regions and from different directions. And that you have enough air defense/missile defense in all directions? Now in the Northern Military District we cannot cover our fronts everywhere from their high-speed missiles, like the Khaimars, etc. It’s better to keep quiet if you don’t know about your capabilities. We cannot use Zircons in Kyiv since there are no carriers for ground targets. And marine carriers of our Zircons are only in the Northern Seas.
        1. Paul3390 Offline Paul3390
          Paul3390 (Paul) 10 February 2024 13: 00
          +6
          Once again, tell all this to Kim. Tell Iran. Tell the Houthis. To the Taliban... They will be surprised! Well, it turns out that you can’t resist the West, because it surpasses us in all respects.. Like, we have to give up. Hmmm.. Whatever fragile minds can come up with..

          Regarding the power of NATO - how many tanks does Germany have? In the UK? In Italy? In France? I’m generally silent about the riffraff. And so - in many ways..
          1. Anchonsha Offline Anchonsha
            Anchonsha (Anchonsha) 10 February 2024 22: 17
            -2
            What do tanks have to do with it? Russia's war with the West will consist of missile attacks from a distance and we will have to launch nuclear weapons to fight back. Tanks will be used, or maybe not used at all, after the missiles have all been fired. Pavel, you understand that few will survive, either with us or with NATO. Europe will not exist at all - it will burn. That’s why Putin behaves in an appropriate way to prevent a nuclear war. If only fewer people like you were allowed into power, hat-thrower
            1. Paul3390 Offline Paul3390
              Paul3390 (Paul) 11 February 2024 09: 38
              +1
              Is it true? Just rocket attacks? Without tanks and other things? Are you serious? Westerners have been trying to practice this for 30 years now - has it ever helped them? Did it lead to victory? That's the same...

              But thanks to liberal elves like you, everyone who is not too lazy has been wiping their feet about us for decades. Tolstoyan, damn it. Ideological non-resistance to evil. Oh well.
      2. Vox Populi Offline Vox Populi
        Vox Populi (vox populi) 10 February 2024 16: 27
        -3
        Well, you can’t behave like that with the West, you can’t! There - they only understand force, they put all their equipment into all these diplomacy and exhortations.

        Well, they used force and then what?!
      3. Insolent in a jacket 11 February 2024 01: 07
        0
        ...Perhaps everything is much more complicated... (I mean, simpler!)
        But then everything in general is VERY SAD!..
  2. prior Offline prior
    prior (Vlad) 10 February 2024 11: 47
    +7
    Putin has never been known for his decisiveness.
    He made decisions only when his back was against the wall.
    An attempt to explain the delay in the beginning of the SVO by the development of new strategic systems is nothing more than a good mine for a bad game.
    How many of those Armata, Sarmats, Daggers, Coalitions and Petrels are there now?!
    What do they fundamentally decide?
    All these strategic systems are nullified by Putin’s own statement that Russia will never use them against a country that does not have such weapons.
    So why should they be afraid, who should they respect?! This means you can destroy all the cities of Russia from the territory of Ukraine with drones and cruise missiles with almost impunity!
    Bravo President!
    1. Paul3390 Offline Paul3390
      Paul3390 (Paul) 10 February 2024 13: 08
      +6
      These are all rotten excuses. Firstly, the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the time of 2014 were a pitiful sight. Secondly, at that time in Ukraine there were still enough people who sharply did not accept Banderlogs and sympathized with Russia.. Thirdly, then we would have been completely within our rights, because we had on our hands a completely legitimate and universally recognized president of Ukraine, and in Kyiv - there was an absolutely illegal junta. And the deployment of troops at his request would be quite normal. Yes - many in the West would not care, but many would not. Why spoil relations with Russia if it does not violate anything? And such gorgeous trump cards were most mediocrely flushed down the toilet. For what reason - so that the Westerners allow the construction of gas pipelines? Well, where are they now? Is it because of them that everything was screwed up?? Ugh.. Great strategist, whine vigorously..
    2. boriz Offline boriz
      boriz (boriz) 11 February 2024 16: 44
      -4
      Putin has never been known for his decisiveness.

      What are you talking about? Seriously?
      That is, Crimea is not him either? Not otherwise, Shoigu came up with...
      And the SVO began, despite the squealing of the outer and inner liberda and all sorts of pink ponies... Who?

      How many of those Armata, Sarmats, Daggers, Coalitions and Petrels are there now?!
      What do they fundamentally decide?

      And how many? And why only this?
      It has already been clearly stated that Russia will not babysit Europe like it does Ukraine. And it made an impression. Medvedev is not Zhirinovsky, his work is not so spectacular, but he is deputy secretary of the Security Council. That is, Putin's deputy.
      Macron sent his Scalps, and now, when he was getting ready to go to Ukraine, he suddenly backed down and lost his temper.
      For security reasons he will not go. Why was everything fine with security before?
      All gay European daredevils, when they go to Ukraine, coordinate their courage with Putin. So as not to fall under the Dagger.
      And now it is obvious that the grandmother’s husband was told that they were not responsible for his safety.
      They delicately made it clear that they would kill him like a cockroach on a table with a slipper.
  3. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 10 February 2024 13: 03
    +2
    Who cares?
    And so, almost every day, blows are struck in the media, all almost unstoppable and irresistible, but in reality, for a year and a half, Avdiivka, previously unknown to anyone, holds on...
    They will hit with an expensive zircon or a cheap caliber - what will change?
    1. Just a cat Offline Just a cat
      Just a cat (Bayun) 10 February 2024 13: 56
      -3
      the number of Ukrainians will change laughing There is something there to conquer and liberate for one’s own purposes.
  4. Pembo Offline Pembo
    Pembo 11 February 2024 10: 34
    +2
    May 9, 2015 Moscow Bolshaya Sadovaya. A huge plane flies overhead. I didn’t have time to take a photo - it just jumped out from behind the houses and flew low and low. But then! I took pictures endlessly. T-14 Armata, T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicle, Kurganets, Boomerang, Rakushka, Coalition, Terminator, Yars, this was the first army in the world. I think I wasn't the only one who was impressed. Now I understand it was a BLUFF! But you can't bluff all the time. And tales about miracle weapons evoke unpleasant historical analogies.
  5. AlOrg Offline AlOrg
    AlOrg (Alex Ivanov) 11 February 2024 15: 48
    +1
    Modern non-nuclear wars are not won with missiles alone. Especially when these missiles are produced in small batches
  6. boriz Offline boriz
    boriz (boriz) 11 February 2024 17: 04
    -3
    First of all, to perform such a task, the target guidance system of an anti-ship missile must be adapted to hit ground-based missiles. This problem is solvable, as Ukrainian engineers clearly demonstrated by converting their Neptune from anti-ship missiles for attacks on our rear.

    Well, yes, where do we, the bast shoes, go against the Ukrainian super engineers...

    The Bastion coastal missile system, which is in service with the Russian Black Sea Fleet, hit all intended targets during a special military operation in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Armed Forces' targets were destroyed with specified accuracy.

    This was reported to TASS by a source related to the military department. In total, several dozen objects were hit. The interlocutor added that both the coastal missile system and the Onyx supersonic cruise missile brilliantly confirmed their capabilities to hit ground targets during a special operation in Ukraine.

    On November 15, 2016, during attacks on targets in Syria, Onyx missiles of the Bastion complex were launched at targets on land. This event is both the first case of using the complex in real combat conditions in general, and the first widely known case of using the complex against ground targets.

    Threat from the north
    "Bal" is a coastal mobile complex equipped with Kh-35 and Kh-35U anti-ship missiles. They are capable of hitting targets at distances of up to 120 and 260 kilometers, respectively. And not only ships, but also objects on the ground. According to some reports, during the modernization the operational range of the Kh-35U was allegedly increased to 500 km.
    According to the Center for National Resistance, the Russians transferred a division of such complexes to the Bryansk region from the Krasnodar Territory. Later this week, the information was confirmed by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

    DBK "Bal" is armed with the X-35, from which they ripped off their Neptune. But Neptune and Alder were left without production on December 29 of last year, according to testimony, among other things, by General Krivonos. There are only small reserves in the troops.
    But bast Rus' will rivet its rockets as much as necessary.
    I expect the author's usual minus. Do not forget ...
  7. Beidodir Offline Beidodir
    Beidodir (Beidodir) 12 February 2024 07: 42
    0
    Quote: boriz
    Wikipedia and rbc.ua clearly do not match the author of this opus in terms of Russophobia.
    DBK "Bal" is armed with the X-35, from which they ripped off their Neptune. But Neptune and Alder were left without production on December 29 of last year, according to testimony, among other things, by General Krivonos. There are only small reserves in the troops.
    But bast Rus' will rivet its rockets as much as necessary.
    I expect the author's usual minus. Do not forget ...

    The minus for you is not only from the author of the opus. You, poor fellow, have already shown your “expert level” with statements about “black Geraniums”.
    https://topcor.ru/42096-kak-semejstvo-samarskih-mgtd-uluchshit-harakteristiki-rossijskih-bpla-i-planirujuschih-aviabomb.html
    It would be better to remain silent and not disgrace yourself.

    1. boriz Offline boriz
      boriz (boriz) 12 February 2024 12: 32
      0
      The minus for you is not only from the author of the opus. You, poor fellow, have already shown your “expert level” with statements about “black Geraniums”.

      First of all, don't poke me.
      Secondly, where are the specifics? What's wrong? Where are your most valuable objections? They are neither here nor there (link).
      What, they spoiled the air and silently fell into the mud?