“It will fly to London in 5 minutes”: why “Zircon” and “Dagger” scare the West

Photo: © Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation/TASS

A MiG-31 fighter takes to the sky, carrying a Kinzhal hypersonic missile on its suspension. These aircraft constantly patrol Russian airspace in full combat readiness. “Dagger” belongs to a new generation of weapons, since it reaches a speed of Mach 10, that is, ten times faster than sound. The Russian army used “daggers” for the first time during the Northern Military District. It recently became known that another hypersonic weapon, the Zircon anti-ship missile, received its baptism of fire in Ukraine.

Where was the new Russian missile aimed? Why is Zircon called the nightmare of the West and the killer of aircraft carriers? Is there an antidote to hypersonic missiles? And how did the Russian Prometheus complex accomplish the impossible? Talks about this “Security Council” program with Igor Shevchuk on REN TV.

Features and characteristics of the Zircon rocket

“Zircon” is the world’s first sea-based hypersonic missile, which is actually put on combat duty. Footage of the Zircon launch from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov in the Barents Sea has appeared on the Internet. The target ship is located a thousand kilometers from the launch point, in the White Sea.

The Zircon covers this distance in just ten minutes. It accelerates to Mach 8, which is approximately 10 thousand kilometers per hour. At this speed, high air pressure forms a plasma cloud in front of the rocket. It absorbs radio waves and makes Zircon invisible on radar.

“Its warhead itself weighs 300-400 kilograms, which makes it possible to make a very powerful filling, and you can even put a nuclear warhead there. It flies in the stratosphere, where there are no dense layers of air, and it is there that it can accelerate to 8, 9 and even up to Mach 10″, – noted military historian Alexander Cheremin.

Photo: © TASS/RF Ministry of Defense

The frigate Admiral Gorshkov became the first full-time carrier of Zircons. Soon two more ships of this type will be armed with missiles: Admiral Golovko and Admiral Kasatonov. Each has 16-cell launchers on board. If they are fully loaded with Zircons, you can fire a salvo of almost fifty missiles.

“Zircon” is now the main weapon of the nuclear submarine cruiser “Severodvinsk”. It is on this submarine that test launches of a hypersonic missile from underwater and surface positions take place. Today the frigate and nuclear submarine serve as part of the Northern Fleet. They could not attack the territory of Ukraine. How then did Zircon reach the military facilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces? According to experts, the missiles were adapted for the Bastion coastal complex.

Why “Onyxes” and “Zircons” are almost impossible to track

It is believed that the Zircon is a deeply modernized version of the Onyx anti-ship missile. Its effectiveness has been proven during the SVO, including against ground targets. Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force Nikolai Oleshchuk admitted that anti-aircraft systems are not capable of intercepting Onyx missiles because the missiles are too fast for Ukrainian air defense.

“Onyx” is in service with both the fleet and coastal systems. The missile launchers are completely unified with the Zircon.

“Currently, there are already statements from officials that Zircon was used during a special military operation. At what exact moment it was used is not currently advertised,” – said military expert Alexander Butyrin.

Photo: © Video screenshot

The advantages of the Bastion coastal complex are high mobility and immediate readiness for combat use. The calculation simply needs to enter the coordinates of the target. This means that our army can use the Zircon missile covertly: it is almost impossible to track a launch from a ground installation.

“The combined use of the Zircon hypersonic missiles, as well as the Kinzhal, is very dangerous for Ukraine. Due to the speed and change of flight trajectory, it is impossible for electronic warfare forces to detect or suppress these missiles. Therefore, the territory of Ukraine is absolutely open to attacks by Zircon or missiles.” Dagger”, – explained the military expert.

What objects of the Ukrainian Armed Forces did the “Dagger” reach?

“Dagger” is responsible for underground bunkers near Lvov, the American Patriot anti-aircraft complex and military-industrial complex facilities in Kyiv.

The Mig-31 is so far the only carrier of a hypersonic missile. The choice of this aircraft was not accidental: together they represent a whole complex. The fighter rises to a height of 20 kilometers. This is the stratosphere, which can conventionally be called the boundary of near space. The maximum speed of the aircraft is three thousand kilometers per hour. So the Mig-31 becomes an accelerating stage for the Kinzhal.

Photo: © Video screenshot

Initially, the Mig-31 was created as an interceptor fighter. It uses air-to-air missiles to destroy targets. A new suspension unit was developed specifically for the Kinzhal, which is installed under the fuselage of the aircraft. Now the Mig-31 can destroy ground targets and ships.

Why “Zircon” is called the nightmare of the West

Russian hypersonics have put NATO countries in a difficult position. Neither Europe nor the United States can oppose it today. The British tabloid The Sun calculated that the Zircon would fly to London in just five minutes. But the main target for the missile is, of course, US aircraft carrier groups. Zircon turned them into easy targets.

Despite the fact that the missile has a powerful warhead, due to its hypersonic speed, the kinetic energy of the impact is sufficient to hit the target.

“In general, the Zircon missile can independently sink an aircraft carrier. The Zircon missile itself is programmed to strike various surface targets. It has in its memory all the characteristics of all existing warships. There is also a point at which part of the ship should be struck “, – said Butyrin.

Several Zircons are capable of destroying an entire carrier strike group. The only option to counter the missile is to destroy the carrier ship. But for this, carrier-based aircraft must constantly patrol waters with a radius of at least a thousand kilometers. That is, work to the limit of your capabilities. The combat radius of American fighters is 800 kilometers.

Photo: © TASS/Press service of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

What analogues of Zircon are they trying to create in the world?

The United States has not yet been able to make analogues of the Russian “Daggers” and “Zircons”. The next tests failed.

“Somewhere, for example, the propulsion engine was not the same, somewhere the warhead itself was not the size that the Pentagon would like to have. Therefore, of course, today the United States will be more involved in espionage, because they have already been dealing with this topic since 1980 years, but they haven’t made any progress yet,” – Cheremin noted.

Today, several countries are developing hypersonic weapons. Iran conducted successful tests last year. Tehran showed off its new Pobeditel ballistic missile. The main characteristics are classified, but it is known that the rocket is capable of traveling 1,400 kilometers, reaching a speed of about Mach 13.

Photo: © Wikimedia Commons/Fars Media Corporation

China, according to American intelligence, has acquired a full-fledged hypersonic triad: ground-, air- and sea-based missiles. Beijing itself has so far demonstrated only the Eagle Strike missile launched from a destroyer. It reaches speeds of up to Mach 10.

The only European country that is currently developing hypersonic weapons is France. Last year, Paris reported successful tests of the rocket, but so far it is only a prototype.

“Currently, according to the information that France provides, it is still impossible to compare this missile with the Zircon. If we are talking about developing a speed of 5–6 thousand kilometers, this is the maximum speed that has been achieved. Therefore, I would still compared this complex to Onyx, – says Butyrin.

Is there an antidote to hypersonic missiles?

After the successful use of hypersonic missiles by the Russian army, the West started thinking about security. In Europe, development of a unified air defense system has begun. France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands will take part in its creation. The United States decided to strengthen the constellation of low-orbit satellites that will detect and track hypersonic targets. But, according to experts, means of countering Russian hypersound will not appear in the next 10 years.

“It is necessary to develop tracking systems, that is, it is not only radars, it can be space reconnaissance. Then the development of electronic warfare systems, because after all, this is a missile, and it can be detected by electronic warfare forces,” – says the military expert.

How the Russian Prometheus accomplished the impossible

At the end of February, it became known that the newest Russian S-500 Prometheus complex successfully passed the exam for intercepting hypersonic targets. Moreover, we are talking about promising developments. “Prometheus” was able to destroy an intercontinental missile with a hypersonic unit.

Photo: © Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

Today only Russia has such weapons. This is the Avangard complex. In the dense layers of the atmosphere, the block develops a record speed of Mach 28: about 9.5 kilometers per second. During the flight, it maneuvers, bypassing the missile defense coverage area.

To shoot down a hypersonic block, you need to calculate the oncoming course. Until now, this was considered impossible, but Prometheus proved that this was not so. This means that Russia has already learned how to shoot down hypersonic targets that don’t even exist in the West yet.

About military secrets, amazing techniques of armies, weapons, brutal gadgets and much more, watch the “Security Council” program with Igor Shevchuk on REN TV.

Source: Ren

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