With cutting-edge hypersonics, Russia leads in new arms race

By ET News

The Avangard, the Kinzhal and now the Zircon — Russia is leading the race to develop a range of new hypersonic weapons that President Vladimir Putin has dubbed “invincible”. Moscow’s latest step came this week with another successful test of the Zircon, a ship-launched hypersonic missile.

Fired from one of Russia’s most powerful warships, the Admiral Gorshkov frigate, a Zircon travelling at seven times the speed of sound flew more than 350 kilometres (over 215 miles) to hit a target on the coast of the Barents Sea.

If more tests are successful, the Zircon looks set to join Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles and the air-launched Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles in Russia’s arsenal of hypersonic weapons.

Hypersonics are able to travel at velocities of at least five times the speed of sound and manoeuvre in mid-flight, making them much harder to track and intercept than traditional projectiles.

And experts agree that — for now at least — Russia has an edge in their development.

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