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Russia says it successfully test-fired Zircon hypersonic cruise missile

Defense Ministry says projectile successfully hit a target directly at a range of over 350 kilometers and reached a speed of nearly Mach 7

In this photo taken from video distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is launched by the frigate Admiral Gorshkov of the Russian navy from the White Sea, in the north of Russia, July 19, 2021 (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
In this photo taken from video distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is launched by the frigate Admiral Gorshkov of the Russian navy from the White Sea, in the north of Russia, July 19, 2021 (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

MOSCOW — Russia said Monday it had carried out another successful test of its Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, a new addition to an arsenal of weapons called “invincible” by President Vladimir Putin.

Moscow has in recent years touted the development of futuristic weapons that it hopes will give it the edge in any arms race with the United States at a time of growing tensions with the West.

Footage distributed by the defense ministry showed the Admiral Gorshkov warship launching the cruise missile at a target on the Barents Sea coast in northern Russia.

“The Zircon missile successfully hit a target directly at a range of over 350 kilometers (217 miles). The flight speed reached nearly Mach 7,” the ministry said in a statement.

Putin revealed the development of the new weapon in a state of the nation address in February 2019, saying it could hit targets at sea and on land with a range of 1,000 kilometers and a speed of Mach 9.

The defense ministry has said it plans to equip both warships and submarines with the Zircon.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, July 1, 2021. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

The missile has undergone several recent tests and in October last year Putin described one of the test firings as a “great event not just in the life of our armed forces but for all of Russia.”

Russia has boasted of developing several weapons that circumvent existing defense systems, including the Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles.

Western experts have linked a deadly blast at a test site in northern Russia in 2019 — which caused a sharp spike in local radiation levels — to the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, revealed by Putin in 2018.

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