Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu has ordered that more combat vessels be equipped with Kalibr and Zircon missiles, reports RIA Novosti.
“The Navy needs to increase the number of distant sea zone vessels, including those which carry Kalibr cruise missiles and Zircon hypersonic missiles,” Shoygu said in a conference call on Monday.
In addition, he said that the country needs to “expand the range of unmanned aerial vehicles and robotized systems and weapons based on new physical principles”.
Kalibr cruise missiles are currently among the most effective weapons used by ships and submarines in the Russian Navy. Such missiles have been used extensively during the operation in Syria, and have demonstrated their tactical and technical capabilities.
After successful use in Syria, the Russian defense minister said that the Kalibrs had been upgraded to shorten the time required for setting flight targets.
In future, alongside Kalibrs, the Russian Navy plans to use Zircon hypersonic missiles, the development of which was unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin last year. According to the Russian leader, the Zircon hypersonic maritime missile will have a top speed of Mach 9 (nine times the speed of sound in air) and a range of more than 1,000 km.
Russia plans to arm surface vessels and submarines, both future and under construction, with Zircons. For example, the Northern Fleet’s currently under construction Gremyashchy-class corvette could be equipped with such missiles.
Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko said later that the Udaloy-class anti-submarine destroyer “Marshal Shaposhnikov” and the Oscar II-class multipurpose submarine “Irkutsk”, which are currently being modernized for Russia’s Pacific Fleet, will be outfitted with Zircon missiles. The “Irkutsk”, which is being upgraded at Zvezda’s Far Eastern Shipyard, should be ready to join the Pacific Fleet in 2022.