Source: Popular Mechanics
The Russian Navy will start sending so-called hypersonic missiles to sea as early as 2022. Capable of flying five to six times the speed of sound, the missiles will be carried by both aging battlecruisers and brand-new submarines, giving each the ability to quickly kill enemy ships.
Currently in advanced stages of development, the Zircon anti-ship missile is capable of flying at hypersonic speeds, between 3,800 to 4,600 miles an hour. That’s fast enough to travel from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. in just over thirty minutes.
According to Moscow’s state press, Zircon is undergoing land-based testing and and is planned to enter production in 2018. Zircon almost certainly builds upon Russian know-how in hypersonics, learned during the the joint development of the Russian-Indian BrahMos hypersonic anti-ship missile. Brahmos has a maximum speed of Mach 2.8 and a range of about 180 miles.
The extreme speed of the Zircon will make it very tough for navies to defend against. At 4,600 miles an hour, the Russian hypersonic missile will be traveling faster than a mile a second. Even if a defending ship were to detect an incoming Zircon at 100 miles, that leaves the ship just over one minute to shoot the missile down.
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