Correspondent in Moscow
Since, in March 2018, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, announced that his country would strengthen its war potential with new ultramodern weapons ‘unprecedented’ and unrivaled in the world, the development of these armament innovations has not ceased not even a moment. Yesterday one of the definitive tests of one of those weapons that, according to Putin, are unparalleled, the hypersonic missile ‘Tsirkón’, with which the ships of the Russian Navy will soon be equipped, was successfully carried out.
The test, according to information from the Russian Defense Ministry, took place in the white sea and the rocket fire was fired from the frigate ‘Admiral Gorshkov’ against an unspecified target located on land 350 kilometers away, on the coast of the Bárents Sea.
Putin assured in 2018 that the ‘Tsirkón’ “is capable of flying at a speed nnine times greater than that of soundIt has a range of over a thousand kilometers and can hit both land and sea targets. The speed considered hypersonic must be five times greater than that of sound, above the 5,000 kilometers per hour.
The tests of this rocket began in March of last year, declared then the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu. However, the mission of carrying out the tests in their real use scenario has been the responsibility of the frigate ‘Admiral Gorshkov’ attached to the North Sea Fleet. This ship will have to carry out three more shots with the ‘Tsirkón’ to completely finish tuning it.
Then, probably in August, the launches will be made, for the first time from a submarine, from the submersible ‘Severodvinsk’. But the first Russian warship to set sail already equipped with these ultra-fast missiles will be the ‘Admiral Golovko’ frigate.
Two other hypersonic missiles
Last month, Putin said that two other hypersonic missiles, the ‘Avangard’ and the ‘Kinzhal’ have already entered service. The first, Putin said when it was first tested two and a half years ago, “is an invulnerable cruise missile for current antimissile and antiaircraft defense devices and for those that the enemy will foreseeably have” for some time. As for the ‘Kinzhal’, it is an air launch rocket of 2,000 kilometers of reach and endowed with an enormous speed and maneuverability. Both the ‘Tsirkón’ and the ‘Avangard’ and the ‘Kinzhal’ can go armed with a nuclear or conventional warhead.
In that State of the Nation speech before the two Houses of the Russian Parliament on March 1, 2018, Putin spoke of many other “invincible” weapons, including the intercontinental missiles ‘Sarmat’, impossible to intercept, according to the head of the Kremlin by not using ballistic trajectory. You can reach anywhere on the planet across the two poles interchangeably and carry multiple nuclear warheads. Putin said in June that the “Sarmat” will also enter service “soon”.
Security risks for Washington
The Slavic country has for years embarked on a process of general rearmament and modernization of its arsenals, including nuclear ones. However, as noted in the Kremlin, such a policy does not contradict the terms of the New Nuclear Weapons Reduction and Limitation Treaty. START, signed by Russia and the United States in 2010, and extended this year for five more years, after the arrival in the White House of Joe Biden. After their recent meeting in Geneva with Putin, the two countries intend to agree on a new framework of “strategic stability.”
However, US experts warn that the US is unlikely in the short term to recover the gap that separates it from Russia and China in the field of hypersonic weapons, which could create serious security risks for Washington. This is stated by the American magazine The National Interest, which cites a report prepared by the Congressional Research Service.
The document maintains that Moscow and Beijing are developing strategic hypersonic weapons, while the United States is working primarily on tactical weapons. According to the report, the United States will have to increase funding for hypersonic weapons development programs so as not to be left behind.