File photo of Russian warships sail past exploding anti-missile ordnance during a rehearsal for the Navy Day parade in the far eastern port of Vladivostok, Russia, July 30, 2016. (REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev)
The race to develop an unstoppable and unbeatable weapon capable of defeating the military defense systems in the world is getting much to close.
According to several reports, Russia is expected to begin production soon of her 3M22 Zircon, a super-rocket that will travel 4,600 miles per hour, five times the speed of sound and a range of 250 km. That is only three minutes and 15 seconds from launch to impact.
Guided hypersonic missiles more accurate than the traditional ballistic missiles, and perhaps armed with nuclear warheads, according to the geopolitical analysis firm Stratfor.
And they will come, whether we like it or not. And they will be at our door sooner, not later.
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“State tests of Zircon are planned for 2017 … and the rocket of the serial production is planned to be launched next year,” the Russian news agency TASS reported last year, quoting sources. And last month, Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a source familiar with the Zircon project, which said that the 5 ton rocket is likely to be tested for the first time this spring earlier than the expected date of 2018 — “a sea-based platform.”
The International Business Times (IBT) reported that the US Navy is concerned, the missile can be mounted on a Russian warship.
Hypersonic speed is the stuff of science fiction. As explained in IBT:
“The rocket has revolutionary scramjet technology to reach hypersonic speeds where the propulsion is created by the force of the air from the atmosphere in the furnace where it mixes with on-board fuel – rather than carrying both fuel and oxidant, as well as the traditional missiles. This makes it lighter, and therefore much faster.
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“It does not use fans, rotating turbines or moving parts – only an alcove where the air is compressed, and an oven in which the air is mixed with fuel. Less moving parts also means less chance of mechanical failure.
“The Zircon … would be able to destroy the world’s most advanced warships and aircraft carriers in one hit could be put into action by 2020.”
The cubic zirconia have a radar target seeker and an optical-electronic complex that can trace and detect of targets, even at hypersonic speed, according to the Strategic Culture Foundation.
“It will greatly reduce the response time that [Western military units] have in the implementation of their own defense and counter-measures,” Tim Ripley, who covers defense for Jane’s Defence Weekly, told the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
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He said that the Zircon could render Western anti-aircraft defense “outdated,” and he warned that Russia seems far from the US in development.
“In the public domain, the West seems to be very far behind,” Ripley said. “But that does not mean that there is not a black, super-secret project of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.”
In fact, the US can’t be left behind. According to Stratfor, an AMERICAN Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello announced in late February that the air force plans to have operational prototypes of its own super-fast missile ready to be tested by 2020.
And Stratfor predicts that the U.S. and China will probably be the first operational long-range hypersonic missiles in their arsenals in 2025, the year for Russia.
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India is also working to develop an ultra-fast rocket. According to India Today, India is the development of the BrahMos II missile in collaboration with Russia, and it will use the same scramjet technology Zircon.