U.S. military analysts believe the test of Russia’s hypersonic Circon cruise missile, capable of flying at speeds of more than 6,000 miles per hour, will be completed as early as next year. Forbes, for example, believes that the first launch of a missile of this type is planned to take place with the new nuclear multirole submarine K-561 Kazan. And, accordingly, Russia will be the first country that will be able to use hypersonic weapons.
In fact, Russia already possesses such hypersonic missiles – one of the last successful tests of the Circon took place on December 10, 2018. This fact was recognized even by incredulous Americans, including at an unthinkable speed of 8 Makhov, which does not possess any missile in the world. The Pentagon has been very tense about this fact, because the appearance of such a missile calls into question the effectiveness of the entire missile defense system, and the threat of hitting aircraft carriers or coastal facilities can not be prevented.
Successful tests from the onshore platform have allowed us to move to the sea testing phase. As far as is known, the shipping platform “Circon” selected a new frigate “Admiral Gorshkov” equipped with launchers, allowing to launch hypersonic missiles. And when in March of this year this ship went on combat duty in the Mediterranean “colleagues” from NATO were very worried about this. However, test ship launches are scheduled for the end of 2019, we will probably hear about them soon. The same Americans claim that they will take place in 2020. The Russian military department also calls this date. According to some reports, it is already in service. and is part of the 3K22 Circon complex, which is codenamed SS-N-33 in NATO. The missile is capable of reaching a speed of about 9 Makhov (this, according to Putin, on tests it accelerated to 8 Makhov) and makes a flight on the marching section at an altitude of 30-40 kilometers, where there is less air resistance, which allows increasing the range and speed. The weight of the combat unit is 300-400 kg, and the total length is 8-10 meters. It is expected that the “Circon” will be used not only from ships and submarines, which will replace the heavy anti-ship missile P-700 Granit but also from the coastal missile systems “Bastion”.
Judging by expert estimates, it can be concluded that the Circons are able to hit U.S. command posts almost all over the country. In theory, these hypersonic missiles could be attacked by the Pentagon, camp David and Fort Ritchie government offices in Maryland, McClellan in California and Jim Creek in Washington state. And, according to the American edition of Popular Mechanics, estimating the “killing” of “Circon”, this missile could potentially be used to carry out so-called “decapitation strikes” against the US military and political leadership, which would undermine it the ability to strike back in a nuclear war. The “decapitation” scenario suggests that Russian submarines are carrying out a surprise nuclear missile attack that will level off Washington even before the U.S. leadership can order retaliation. At the speed of missiles at 11 thousand kilometers per hour, the flying time from the time of launch from ships and submarines will be 5-8 minutes and the missile defense system will not stop them. “The enemy will not be able to detect the missile on the radar but will be able to see it rapidly approaching from the horizon. It will literally be terrifying,” the agency quoted Avia.pro as saying. The U.S. military itself has calculated that they will have no more than 20 seconds to destroy the Circon missile. However, given the low radar visibility, analysts estimate the interception of the Russian hypersonic missile is not possible at all.
Yet The Circon remains an anti-ship missile while leaving room for ground targets. The launchers for the launches of this missile remain the same as those used for the latest P-800 Onyx and Caliber (3M54) missiles. And the application is calculated both from warships (and not only frigates of the type “Admiral Gorshkov”), and submarine-launched nuclear-powered projects “Yasen-M,” “Antey” and “Huskey”. At the same time, Circon, like The Caliber, is easy to put into the ground position, but in this case, their focus will be mostly European countries, where American ballistic missile launchers are located. heavy anti-ship missile P-700 Granit, which has been in service with the Navy since 1983. But it’s too early to scrap Granit! According to the Chinese portal Sohu, Russian cruise anti-ship missiles “Granit” have the greatest potential to fight American aircraft carrier groups. According to the author of the article, this weapon was referring to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who noted in a recent interview that the Pentagon spends the budget on the creation of aircraft carrier groups, while Moscow is focusing on funds that can be used to fight them. This approach is cheaper and more efficient.
“Among all the supersonic anti-ship missiles developed in Russia since the Cold War, Granit is the most long-range weapon capable of inflicting the heaviest damage on aircraft carriers,” Sohu writes. It is noted that the PRC is capable of reaching targets at a distance of more than 600 kilometers, while U.S. aircraft carrier groups are able to defend the zone with a radius of only 550 kilometers.
In September, the Pacific Fleet conducted exercises during which the Granit missile was launched from the nuclear submarine cruiser Omsk. The target was successfully struck at a range of about 350 kilometers. In the Russian Navy in service are 6 APC of the project 949A type “Antey” which are armed with such missiles – 24 PRK on each. They are often referred to as “killers” or “nightmares” of aircraft carriers. Each of the submarines is able to sink the enemy’s aircraft carrier group in one salvo.