Moscow: With another successful test of the Zircon, a ship-launched hypersonic missile this week, Russia positioned itself as a front runner in the race to develop a range of new hypersonic weapons.
Dubbed “invincible” by President Vladimir Putin, Zircon was fired from one of Russia’s most powerful warships, the Admiral Gorshkov frigate, travelling at seven times the speed of sound flew more than 350 kilometres (over 215 miles) to hit a target on the coast of the Barents Sea.
The Zircon, with more successful tests looks set to join Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles and the air-launched Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles in Russia’s arsenal of hypersonic weapons.
Currently, Russia has an edge in hypersonic weapons development – experts agree.
And experts agree that — for now at least — Russia has an edge in their development. The United States, China, France and other major powers have announced plans to develop their own hypersonic weapons and are expected to soon catch up.
According to analysts, the hypersonics are impressive, remarkable scientific achievement but not a game-changing technology. Russia has the second-largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world, a huge cache of ballistic missiles and more than enough military capacity to deter its enemies.
The spending of billions on super-fast new weapons has opened up the dangerous new arms race and security challenges, as having the cutting edge capabilities provides tactical advantage.