Russia sends hypersonic missiles on frigate sailing to Atlantic and Indian Oceans

It has been assigned missions in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Ameya Paleja
The new Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov
The new Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov

Ministry of Defence Russia/ Wikimedia Commons 

Admiral Gorshkov, the Russian frigate commissioned in 2018 to replace Soviet-built destroyers, has now entered combat service armed with the Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic missile, Military.com reported.

Hypersonic missiles are weapons that travel at speeds at least five times greater than the speed of sound and are capable of high maneuverability. While the U.S. has been lagging in the development of these missiles, countries like Russia and North Korea have claimed to have made advances by testing them successfully.

The new Russian claim of having deployed these missiles on a warship further strengthens their case and could be aimed at increasing tensions with the Western world that has continued to support Ukraine throughout Russia's invasion of its neighbor.

New Russian frigate

Amidst the news of the hypersonic missile deployment, Russia has also managed to take another step forward as it looks to replace its aging fleet of destroyers built during the Soviet era. Admiral Gorshkov is the first ship in the series of new frigates that Russia plans to deploy at sea.

The 427 feet (130 m) long ship has a displacement of 4,550 tons and is powered by a Combined Diesel And Gas (CODAG) propulsion system that can deliver up to 65,400 shp. The ship has a top speed of 29.5 knots (34 miles an hour) and an endurance of 30 days with a crew of 210.

Soon after its commissioning in 2018, the frigate completed a journey of oceans of the world and covered a distance of 35,000 miles.

With abilities to fire torpedoes, anti-ship, and anti-submarine missiles, the frigate has been given a shot in the arm by equipping it with the Tsirkon hypersonic missiles, which, according to President Vladimir Putin "has no analogues."

Tsirkon hypersonic missiles

Russia has previously extensively tested the Tsirkon hypersonic missiles on Admiral Gorshkov and also a submarine and then inducted them last fall. The missiles are capable of not only hitting naval targets but also ground-based ones.

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As per Russian claims, the missile is capable of traveling at speeds nine times that of sound and has a range of over 620 miles (1,000 km). Speaking at the deployment ceremony of the frigate, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the missiles gave Russia the capability to carry out "pinpoint and powerful strikes against the enemy at sea and on land" and that the missiles could overcome any advanced air and missile defense systems, a press release from Kremlin stated.

For now the frigate is expected to sail to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans but is also expected to carry out missions in the Mediterranean Sea. Experts told Military.com that a single frigate with a hypersonic missile is not really a threat to the U.S. However, Russia has plans to commission 15 such frigates in the near future and also boasts of other hypersonic missiles that it is not shy to use during times of conflict.

It remains to be seen if the Russian move will put the NATO allies on the backfoot when it comes to helping out Ukraine or push ahead with more ammunition in the future.