A Russian warship reportedly conducted a simulated hypersonic missile strike on a mock enemy ship in the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday.
The Admiral Gorshkov frigate conducted the exercise using a computer simulation on a target more than 560 miles away using Zircon hypersonic missiles, The Jerusalem Post reported, citing the Russian Defense Ministry. Russian state-owned media Tass also confirmed the report. It is not known if a missile was fired during the exercise.
The Zircon missiles are said to be able to travel nine times the speed of sound and reach a target 620 miles away.
“A ship armed with Zircons is capable of inflicting pinpoint powerful strikes against any enemy targets at sea and on land,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, according to The Post. “At the same time, a feature of the Zircon hypersonic missiles is the ability to reliably overcome any modern and advanced air defense and missile defense systems.”
Tass reported the Gorshkov was part of a naval task force that included the tanker ship Kama deployed in the western Atlantic under the command of Northern Fleet Missile Ships Division Cmdr. Capt. 1st Rank Oleg Gladky. The fleet has been deployed since early January and Tass reported it is expected to conduct joint exercises with China and South Africa off South Africa’s coast in February.
During a press briefing Thursday, deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh said the U.S. is aware of the Gorshkov’s presence in the Atlantic but that she could not confirm whether hypersonic missiles were on board the ship.
“I would have to look into that for you,” she said to a reporter. “I just don’t know but I would – again, we have not seen any unprofessional, unsafe behavior, and so there’s no need for concern.”
The U.S., Russia, and China are in a hypersonic weapons race. In December, the U.S. successfully test-launched a prototype of the AGM-183A ARRW hypersonic missile off the coast of Southern California. In 2021, China reportedly launched a hypersonic glide vehicle that circumnavigated the globe before engaging a target.
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