Russia’s hypersonic missile-armed ship to patrol global seas

Jan 4, 2023, 11:39 AM | Updated: Jan 6, 2023, 12:11 pm
FILE - In this image taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on May 28,...

FILE - In this image taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on May 28, 2022, a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is launched by the frigate named "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov" of the Russian navy from the Barents Sea. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday Jan. 4, 2023 sent a frigate off to the Atlantic Ocean armed with hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday sent a frigate armed with the country’s latest Zircon hypersonic missile on a trans-ocean cruise in a show of force as tensions with the West escalate over the war in Ukraine.

Russia touts that the Zircon missile can evade any Western air defenses by flying at an astounding 7,000 miles per hour (11,265 km/h).

Here is a glance at the ship and its weapons.

THE PRIDE OF THE RUSSIAN NAVY

Commissioned by the navy in 2018 following long trials, the Admiral Gorshkov is the first ship in the new series of frigates which were designed to replace the aging Soviet-built destroyers as a key strike component of the Russian navy.

Armed with an array of missiles, the ship is 130-meters (427-feet) long and has a crew of about 200.

In 2019, it circled the world oceans on a 35,000-nautical mile journey.

INTENSIVE TESTS

The Admiral Gorshkov has served as the main testbed for the latest Russian hypersonic missile, Zircon.

In recent years, the Zircon has undergone a series of tests, including being launched at various practice targets. The military declared the tests successful and Zircon officially entered service last fall.

Zircon is intended to arm Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines and could be used against both enemy ships and ground targets. It is one of several hypersonic missiles that Russia has developed.

THE NEW WEAPON

Putin has hailed Zircon as a potent weapon capable of penetrating any existing anti-missile defenses by flying nine times faster than the speed of sound at a range of more than 1,000 kilometers (over 620 miles).

Putin has emphasized that Zircon gives the Russian military a long-range conventional strike capability, allowing it to strike any enemy targets with precision.

Russia’s hypersonic weapons drive emerged as the U.S. has been working on its own Conventional Prompt Global Strike capability that envisions hitting an adversary’s strategic targets with precision-guided conventional weapons anywhere in the world within one hour.

Putin heralded Zircon as Russia’s answer to that, claiming that the new weapon has no rival, giving Russia a strategic edge.

Months before ordering the invasion of Ukraine, Putin put the U.S. and its NATO allies on notice when he warned that Russian warships armed with Zircon would give Russia a capability to strike the adversary’s “decision-making centers” within minutes if deployed in neutral waters.

Speaking via video link during Wednesday’s sendoff ceremony, Putin again praised Zircon as a “unique weapon” without an “equivalent for it in any country in the world.”

In response, the Pentagon said it is monitoring the ship, and did not think it presented a threat that could not be countered.

“We are aware of the reports regarding the Russian launch of a frigate, the Admiral Grorshkov. We will continue to routinely monitor its activities as we maintain awareness of our operating environment,” said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Roger Cabiness. “While we do not comment on specific capabilities or speculate on hypotheticals, the Department of Defense remains confident in our ability to deter our adversaries and defend United States national security interests at any time, in any place.”

OTHER RUSSIAN HYPERSONIC WEAPONS

Russia has already commissioned the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles for some of its ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles that constitute part of Russia’s strategic nuclear triad. Putin has hailed the Avangard’s ability to maneuver at hypersonic speeds on its approach to target, dodging air defenses.

The Russian military has also deployed the Kinzhal hypersonic missiles on its MiG-31 aircraft and used them during the war in Ukraine to strike some priority targets. Kinzhal reportedly has a range of about 1,500 kilometers (about 930 miles).

PATROL DUTY

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Putin on Wednesday that the Admiral Gorshkov will patrol the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean, but didn’t give further details.

Shoigu said the Admiral Gorshkov’s crew will focus on “countering the threats to Russia, maintaining regional peace and stability jointly with friendly countries.” He added the crew will practice with hypersonic weapons and long-range cruise missiles “in various conditions.”

Some military experts say a single, hypersonic missile-armed warship is no match for the massive naval forces of the U.S. and its allies.

But others noted that the frigate’s potential deployment close to U.S. shores could be part of Putin’s strategy to up the ante in the Ukrainian conflict.

“This is a message to the West that Russia has nuclear-tipped missiles that can easily pierce any missile defenses,” pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergei Markov wrote in a commentary.

Associated Press writer Tara Copp contributed to this report from Washington.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a videoconference with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Igor Krokhmal, commander of the frigate named "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov", in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Putin on Wednesday sent a frigate off to the Atlantic Ocean armed with hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
            
              Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a videoconference with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, on a tv screen, and Igor Krokhmal, commander of the frigate named "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov", right on a tv screen, in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Putin on Wednesday sent a frigate off to the Atlantic Ocean armed with hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
            
              FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin onboard a boat, greets sailors of the frigate named "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov" during Navy Day celebrations, in the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia, on July 31, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday Jan. 4, 2023 sent a frigate off to the Atlantic Ocean armed with hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, File)
            
              FILE - Russian frigate named "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov" is seen moored in the Neva River during the Navy Day celebration in St.  Petersburg, Russia, onJuly 31, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday Jan. 4, 2023 sent a frigate off to the Atlantic Ocean armed with hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, File)
            
              FILE - Russian frigate named "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov" is seen moored in the Neva River during the Navy Day celebration in St.Petersburg, Russia, on July 31, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday Jan. 4, 2023 sent a frigate off to the Atlantic Ocean armed with hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, File)
            
              Illustration shows the Russian hypersonic missile.
            
              Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a videoconference with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, on a tv screen, and Igor Krokhmal, commander of the frigate named "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov", right on a tv screen, in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Putin on Wednesday sent a frigate off to the Atlantic Ocean armed with hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
            
              FILE - In this image taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on May 28, 2022, a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is launched by the frigate named "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov" of the Russian navy from the Barents Sea. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday Jan. 4, 2023 sent a frigate off to the Atlantic Ocean armed with hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

AP

Two men share a meal in a makeshift tent camp outside the Petit Chateau reception center in Brussel...
Associated Press

EU migration impasse leaves many refugees out in the cold

BRUSSELS (AP) — Some refugees and asylum-seekers in Brussels have been spending months in between the Street of Palaces and the Small Castle — quite literally. Unfortunately, it’s not a dream come true at the end of their fearful flight from halfway across the globe. It’s a perpetual nightmare. Petit Chateau, which means small castle, […]
4 hours ago
Items are displayed in the "Boutique" at the Insight Women's Center, where clients can find clothes...
Associated Press

US states take control of abortion debate with funding focus

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Though the Insight Women’s Center sits at the epicenter of a reinvigorated battle in the nation’s culture wars, the only hint of its faith-based mission to dissuade people from getting abortions is the jazzy, piano rendition of “Jesus Loves Me” playing in a waiting room. The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature is considering […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

India’s G-20 energy meet to balance renewables, fossil fuels

BENGALURU, India (AP) — Over 500 energy industry heavyweights and 30,000 participants will descend on the southern Indian city of Bengaluru on Monday to discuss the future of renewables and fossil fuels at India Energy Week — the first big ticket event of the country’s presidency of the Group of 20 leading economies. Speakers, including […]
1 day ago
FILE - Mega Millions lottery tickets and a wager slip are displayed, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Derry...
Arizona Sports

Drawing nears for $700M Powerball prize, 10th biggest in US

Another huge lottery jackpot will be on the line Saturday for players willing to put up $2 vs. daunting odds of actually winning the prize.
1 day ago
Chinese spy balloon flies above in Charlotte NC, United States on February 04, 2023. The Pentagon a...
Associated Press

US downs suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast

The United States on Saturday downed a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites.
1 day ago
A man works at an avocado orchard in Santa Ana Zirosto, Michoacan state, Mexico, Thursday, Jan. 26,...
Associated Press

Route to Super Bowl dangerous for Mexico’s avocado haulers

SANTA ANA ZIROSTO, Mexico (AP) — It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for truckers transporting the avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl. It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Russia’s hypersonic missile-armed ship to patrol global seas