During a missile strike on Ukraine on February 7, Russia attempted to use its hypersonic missile Zircon, code-named 3M22, to strike targets in Kyiv, reports the Ukrainian military website Defense Express, referring to the photographs circulated online.
A particular fragment bore the mark "3M22," confirming it belongs to the missile which, along with the Kh-47 Kinzhal, forms part of President Putin’s so-called "wunderwaffe."
Given the debris was located at the crash site in Kyiv's Dniprovsky district, and it is unlikely that a power transmission line was the intended target for the Zircon, it suggests the missile was indeed intercepted. However, the Ukrainian Air Command's summary reports that only sea-launched cruise missiles like the Kh-555/101 and Kalibr types were intercepted, notes Defense Express.
Despite this, the Air Forces officially reported a high-speed missile approaching Kyiv at 07:46 as part of their threat alerts.
Defense Express consulted with its sources to ascertain more details. They reported that the missile's fragmentation was extensive, complicating identification efforts. Additionally, little public information about the 3M22 Zircon hinders this process.
The journalists remind that the status of the Zircon missile within Russia's arsenal is unclear—it has been announced as adopted for service, but then no official order has been confirmed regarding its induction.
Nevertheless, Defense Express has learned that debris found today matches that of another unidentified missile used by the Russians earlier this year, which was also speculated to be the Zircon. Therefore, it is possible that the enemy has not used this missile for the first time today.
Russia refers to the 3M22 Zircon as "hypersonic," although, like the Kh-47 Kinzhal, it is likely a solid-fuel missile that accelerates to significant speeds, allegedly up to 9 Mach. Its range is claimed to be up to 600 kilometers, but sometime reports have if as up to 1,000 kilometers, writes Defense Express.
Known carriers of the missile—which was designed for launch from ships and submarines—include only the frigate Admiral Gorshkov (Project 22350) and the nuclear submarine K-560 Severodvinsk (Project 885 "Yasen"), both of which are stationed beyond the missile's range from Ukrainian territory. Analysts therefore suspect that for the Zircon launch, an adapted Bastion systems or the known "Object-100" may have been used.