Submarine "Severodvinsk" - an experienced carrier of missiles "Zircon"
On October 4, the Severodvinsk multipurpose nuclear submarine performed two successive test launches of the Zircon experimental hypersonic missiles. The missiles hit the intended targets and confirmed the calculated characteristics, as a result of which the test stage using the standard submarine carrier was completed. Naturally, these events did not go unnoticed abroad.
On the morning of October 4, the press service of the Ministry of Defense announced the next test launch of the Zircon rocket, which had previously been put into testing. For the first time this weapon used the nuclear submarine "Severodvinsk". The shooting was carried out from the White Sea at a target in the water area of the Barents Sea. The carrier submarine was on the surface. The flight was said to be within the specified parameters and the missile successfully hit the target.
Just a few hours later, the Ministry of Defense published news about the second test run of the day. This time "Severodvinsk" launched the "Zircon" from a submerged position - from a depth of 40 m. The rocket successfully emerged from the water and flew to a conditional target, again showing the specified parameters. Together with both news, they published short videos showing the take-off of the missiles.
On October 5, during a conference call at the Ministry of Defense, the commander of the Northern fleet Admiral Alexander Moiseev made a report on the activities carried out. He said that during the test launches, the onboard systems of the submarine and the rocket worked normally and without comment. The underwater launch of the Zircon has been completed and confirmed.
The first launch of Zircon on October 4. The silhouette of a submarine is visible under the flash
It is reported that in previous and current tests, the promising rocket has confirmed all its characteristics, although their exact level is still not disclosed. According to Admiral Moiseyev, the October 4 launches complete the Zircon submarine test program.
News from the Russian Ministry of Defense, as expected, spread through foreign media. So far, basically, we are talking only about translations and reprints of official messages about the two launches and the completion of the "underwater" part of the tests, but analytical materials are already appearing. Their number is likely to grow in the near future.
On sites with open comments, foreign audiences share their thoughts on Zircon and related topics. As always, there is no consensus. Some commentators support Russia and its achievements. Others, according to tradition, come down with criticism and vehemently "denounce the Russian threat."
Opinions and assessments
There are already some estimates in the news publications. For example, Reuters in its article "Russia test fires submarine-launched hypersonic Tsirkon missile for first time" dated October 4 refers to unnamed foreign experts. They recognize that a hypersonic missile with high speed, altitude and maneuverability is an extremely difficult target to track and intercept. At the same time, they are not sure how advanced the Zircon project is.
The Indian edition of The Eurasian Times, which published the article "US Finally Admits That Russia Is The 'World Leader' In Hypersonic Missile Technology?", Has no doubts about the characteristics and capabilities of Zircon. They also provide known data on the possibility of using such missiles by ships of different types. In addition, ET recalls the recent implementation and testing of a promising automated fleet management system, reconnaissance satellite launches, etc. All together, the new means and weapons should seriously increase the combat capabilities of the Russian Navy.
ET also cites the opinion of a foreign military leader. So, in August this year, the head of the US Army Strategic Command, Admiral Charles Richard, said that Russia is the leading power in the field of hypersonic technology. At the same time, American ground-based and space-based detection systems may not be able to cope with tracking the threat in the form of new Russian missiles.
The publication The Drive / The War Zone in the article "Russia Says It Has Test Fired Hypersonic Cruise Missiles From A Submarine For The First Time", having reviewed the latest news, offers its own version of analysis and forecast. One of the main conclusions is quite simple: the combination of Zircon missiles and Yasen submarines could become a cause for serious concern for the United States and its NATO allies.
The Russian Navy currently has only two such nuclear submarines. However, over the next five years, according to the Pentagon, their number will reach 8-9 units. Such a flotilla will be able to carry out constant duty in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, becoming a serious threat to the United States. In the context of hypothetical targets for Zircon, The Drive recalls a famous episode of the TV program "News of the Week", which showed a map of the United States with the corresponding markings.
Rocket launch from a submerged position: the product has just emerged from the water
It is noted that the real potential of Zircon depends both on the characteristics of the rocket and on Russia's ability to complete the project. How soon the Russian navy will be able to get enough new missiles is unclear. At the same time, there are cases when the delivery times of the required products were shifted due to financial or other difficulties. Also, The War Zone recalls the complexity of hypersonic technologies - even the United States, with all its capabilities, cannot yet boast of any particular success in this direction.
The American military and political leadership openly names the new Russian submarines with hypersonic missiles on board as a threat to national security. To counteract it, various solutions are proposed, and another measure was taken shortly before the recent tests.
On September 1, the Task Group Greyhound was formed as part of the US Navy. It will reach full combat readiness by June next year. The task of the new unit will be to participate in the organization and implementation of anti-submarine defense in the Atlantic Ocean, incl. off the east coast of the United States. They will have to work together with other PLO participants and complement them.
According to plans, the squad will include four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers with significant anti-submarine potential. The permanent composition of the detachment is not envisaged; different ships will alternately be involved in solving problems. Two of the four destroyers will be on constant alert, ready to complete missions. If necessary, the second pair will provide support.
Test launch of the Zircon rocket from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, July 2021
The purpose of the Greyhound detachment is openly called countering Russian submarine forces in the Atlantic. Russian progress in this area is causing serious concern in the United States. The multipurpose "Ash" and the strategic "Borei" with modern missile weapons are considered a serious threat requiring an urgent response. However, so far only four destroyers are going to respond to it, in addition to the already deployed forces.
Words and actions
In general, the foreign reaction to new tests of Russian weapons is predictable. The public, professionals and the press react critically or with fear, although approval is occasionally met. At the same time, the military and political leadership of the potential adversary is paying attention to the "growing threat" from Russia, and it even comes to real actions.
How they react abroad to two tests of Zircon in one day and what they write in the comments on the pages of the media is not so important. In addition, it is already clear that the next news about our new rocket will again cause a predictable wave of publications and comments of known content.
The actions of Russia and other countries are of real importance in the current situation. So, the Russian Navy, together with the industry, conducted new tests of a promising missile, which brings it closer to being put into service. In parallel, the United States is strengthening ASW in the Atlantic Ocean. This means that a new round of confrontation is outlined at sea and under water. And this time our submarines will have the most serious argument in the form of hypersonic missiles - and this is more important than any opinions and assessments.