Russia Equips Its Submarines With Hypersonic Missiles

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Russia’s Yasen-class submarines, also known as Project 885M, is the most advanced Russian submarine powered by nuclear energy, and it will soon be equipped with the country’s Zircon hypersonic missiles.

The missiles can travel five times faster than the speed of sound and are considered the next frontier of weapons technology since they cannot be countered with conventional missile defense systems.

According to Interesting Engineering, Russia first tested the Zircon back in 2021, when it demonstrated its hypersonic abilities by traveling at Mach 7 and then hitting a target nearly 320 km away. Later that year, the missile was from a submarine at a depth of 40 meters. Since then, the Zircon missile has been further developed and now boasts a range of 900 km.

Alexei Rakhmanov, chief executive officer of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) recently told the media that the Zircon missiles would be a regular feature on the Yasen-M submarines, and they are already working on that front.

The Yasen-M submarines weigh 13,800 tons, are regarded as the “crown jewels” of the Russian Navy, and were recently upgraded with advanced noise reduction technology and a nuclear reactor.

This class of submarines has both Oniks missiles that can hit targets 593 km out at sea, and Kalibr missiles that have a range of 2,963 km for land-based attacks. This means that theoretically, a Yasen-M submarine in the mid-Atlantic can hit a target on the eastern coast of the united states.

Although the Zircon has a relatively shorter range than the Kalibr missiles, its ability to evade missile defense systems makes it a bigger threat. Russia is clearly working on keeping its most-advanced submarines tactically agile for future use by inducting hypersonic missile technology into these upcoming vessels. According to Eurasian Times, the first of the 885M submarines with Zircon missiles could be floated by 2026.