Zircon Hypersonic Cruise Missile

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    • Recently, Russia had carried out another successful test of its Zircon hypersonic cruise missile from the Severodvinsk submarine and hit a designated mock target in the Barents Sea.

    About Zircon hypersonic cruise missile

    • Zircon’s tests are to be completed later this year and they will be commissioned by the Russian navy in 2022.
    • It could hit targets at sea and on land with a range of 1,000 kilometres (620 miles).
    • It would be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound.
    • Zircon is intended to arm Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines.
    •  It is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia.

    Developments in India

    • India has collaborated with Russia on the development of BrahMos II, a Mach 7 hypersonic cruise missile.
      • BrahMos II was initially intended to be fielded in 2017 but the programme faces significant delays and is now scheduled to achieve initial operational capability between 2025 and 2028.
    • India is also developing an indigenous, dual-capable hypersonic cruise missile as part of its Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle programme and successfully tested a Mach 6 scramjet in June 2019 and September 2020.
    • India operates approximately 12 hypersonic wind tunnels and is capable of testing speeds of up to Mach 13.

    What is Hypersonics?

    • Hypersonics can travel more than five times the speed of sound and manoeuvre in mid-flight, making them much harder to track and intercept than traditional projectiles.
    • The combination of speed, manoeuvrability and altitude of hypersonic missiles, capable of travelling at more than five times the speed of sound, makes them difficult to track and intercept.

    Speed Range

    Velocity (in m/s)

    Mach Number

    Subsonic

    <274

    < 0.8

    Transonic

    274-412

    0.8-1.2

    Supersonic

    412-1715

    1.2-5

    Hypersonic

    1715-3430

    5-10

    High- Hypersonic

    3430-8507

    10-25

    Source: NDTV