Russia on Monday said it had another successful test of its Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, as world powers race to develop advanced weapons.
Russia, the United States, France and China are all experimenting with so-called hypersonic glide vehicles – defined as reaching speeds of at least Mach 5.
The Defense Ministry said that as part of the “completion of testing” of Russia’s hypersonic missile weapons, the Admiral Gorshkov battleship launched a Zircon missile at a target 400 kilometers away in the Barents Sea.
Describing the test as successful, the ministry said, “The target was hit.”
There have been several recent tests of the missile, with Russia planning to equip both warships and submarines with Zircon.
Putin revealed the development of the new weapon to the State of the Nation in February 2019, saying it could hit targets at sea and land with a range of 1,000 kilometers and a speed of Mach 9.
Russia’s latest Zircon test comes after Western reports that a Chinese hypersonic glider test flight in July culminated in a mid-flight firing of a missile at more than five times the speed of sound over the South China Sea.
Until the test, none of the top powers had displayed comparable mastery of mid-flight missile launches.
China denied the report, saying it was a routine test of a reusable spacecraft.
Russia claims to have developed a number of weapons that bypass existing defense systems, including the Sarmat intercontinental missile and the Burvestnik cruise missile.
Western experts have linked a deadly explosion at a test site in northern Russia in 2019 – causing a sharp rise in local radiation levels – to the Buryvestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile.