Russia says it carried out hypersonic missile exercise in the Atlantic

This photo taken on April 21, 2019 shows the Russian missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov arriving in Qingdao in China’s eastern Shandong province.

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The Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday one of its hypersonic-missile carrying frigates had conducted “hypersonic missile exercises” in the western part of the Atlantic Ocean.

The frigate Admiral Gorshkov tested the strike capabilities of Russia’s much-hyped Zircon hypersonic missile in the western Atlantic Ocean, according to a statement released by the ministry, using “computer simulation” exercises.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the development of the hypersonic Zircon (or Tsirkon) missiles back in 2019 when he said the missiles have a top speed of mach 9 (or nine times the speed of sound) and have a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles). The missiles, Putin said, “can hit navy or land targets.”

“In accordance with the training situation, the frigate practiced arranging [a] Tsirkon hypersonic missile strike against a maritime target at a distance over 900 kilometers away,” Russia’s defense ministry said in its statement about the exercise.

It did not say it had launched a missile.

The ministry noted that the Admiral Gorshkov frigate “is a modern multi-purpose ship, equipped with guided missiles, and designed for operating in distant maritime and oceanic areas.”

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“Fitted with Tsirkon [missiles], the ship is capable of launching pinpoint and powerful strikes at any offshore and onshore targets,” it said.

Russia’s testing of its strike capabilities in the Atlantic Ocean is likely to be seen as a provocative step by the U.S. and its NATO allies.

Relations between Moscow and the West are at an all-time low following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Russia accuses the West, which has provided Ukraine with billions of dollars’ worth of arms and military aid, of waging a proxy war against it.

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