Russia test-fires new hypersonic missile from a nuclear submarine

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The military said on Monday that a potential Russian hypersonic missile has been successfully test-fired from a nuclear submarine for the first time.

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The Russian Defense Ministry said the Severodvinsk submarine made two launches of the Zircon cruise missile at simulated targets in the Barents Sea.

It first tested Zircon from the surface, and then launched another missile from a submerged position in the White Sea.

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The launch marked Zircon’s first launch from a submarine. It has been repeatedly tested from a naval warship before, most recently in July.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the zircon would be capable of flying nine times the speed of sound and would have a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles). Putin has emphasized that its deployment would significantly increase Russian military capability.

The Zircon trials are to be completed later this year and will be commissioned by the Russian Navy in 2022, officials said.

The Zircon is intended to arm Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines. It is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia.

The Kremlin has made modernizing the country’s arsenal a top priority amid tensions with the West following Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

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