​The UK Defense Intelligence Analyzes the Deployment of russian Zircon Hypersonic Missile

The 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missile / open source
The 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missile / open source

Experts speculate russia deployed this missile from land-based system due to lack of Black Sea carriers

According to analysis conducted by the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute for Forensic Examinations, russia utilized its Zircon hypersonic missile in an attack on Ukraine for the first time on 7 February. A video of the wreckage allegedly shows fragments of the engine and steering mechanisms with specific markings that are, according to the report, “characteristic of the 3M22 Zircon missile”, the UK Defense Intelligence reports.

Reportedly capable of travelling at Mach 9 up to an effective firing range of 1,000km, the Zircon missile was initially developed for use by the russian Navy. The absence of vessels known to carry the missiles in the Black Sea raises questions about the method of launch. It is likely the russian land-based K-300 coastal defense system has been adapted for this purpose. If its use is confirmed, this would present a significant challenge to Ukrainian air defenses due to its speed and maneuverability.

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It is likely the russians are testing a newly operational weapon system in a live conflict environment to provide assurance and demonstrate capability.

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