Admiral Gorshkov’s frigate will sail to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, Moscow says.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has deployed a frigate armed with hypersonic cruise missiles towards the Atlantic and Indian Oceans in a show of military force as the war in Ukraine grinds on.
Putin took part in a video conference ceremony on Wednesday to mark the launch of the warship Admiral Gorshkov.
Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defense minister, and Igor Krokhmal, the commander of the frigate, were also involved.
“The ship is equipped with the latest hypersonic missile system – ‘Zircon’ – which has no analogues,” Putin said before ordering it to begin combat duty.
“I would like to wish the crew … success in their service for the good of the motherland,” he added.
Shoigu said the frigate would sail to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean.
He added that it was capable of launching “pointed and powerful strikes against the enemy at sea and on land” hypersonic missiles on board could overcome any missile defense system and had a range of over 1,000 kilometers (620 mi).
Hypersonic Weapon Race
Hypersonic weapons can travel at more than five times the speed of sound.
Russia has been testing the Zircon from warships and submarines for the past year as the race to develop hypersonic weapons heats up with the United States and China.
“The main focus of the mission will be countering threats to Russia and supporting regional peace and stability together with friendly countries,” Shoigu said.
“During exercises, the crew is trained in the deployment of hypersonic weapons and long-range cruise missiles.”
The high-profile tests have come despite Moscow suffering heavy casualties in men and equipment during the nearly year-long invasion of Ukraine that has plunged relations between Russia and the West.
Despite their name, analysts have said that the main characteristic of hypersonic weapons is not speed – which can sometimes be matched or surpassed by traditional ballistic missile warheads – but their maneuverability.
The weapons are seen as a way to gain an edge over any opponent, as they may be able to evade missile shields and early warning systems.