NEW DELHI: Russia has announced that its state-of-the-art multi-role frigate Admiral Gorshkov, now equipped with "unstoppable" Zircon hypersonic missile system, is all set to embark on a long-distance sea voyage across the Atlantic and Indian oceans.
Zircon, the hypersonic cruise missile designed to destroy sea and ground targets, has been undergoing extensive testing in the Barents Sea on the northwest coast of Russia over the past year.
As the Russian Navy goes ahead with its ultimate goal of equipping the country's warships and submarines with Zircon (also spelled as 3M22 Tsirkon), Admiral Gorshkov, one of the most modern ships of its Northern Fleet, is the first to go on combat duty with the formidable weapons aboard.
The frigate Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union, Gorshkov is one of the most modern ships of the Russian Navy. It was built at the Severnaya Verf shipyard in Saint Petersburg, entered service in July 2018 and finalised in 2021 for the use of Zircon hypersonic missiles.
The multifunctional warship is capable of effectively fighting surface, air and underwater adversaries, as well as striking land and coastal targets at a distance of more than a thousand kilometre.
Announcing the warship's entry into combat service on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow will continue to develop the combat potential of its Armed Forces and produce advanced models of weapons and equipment that will guard the country's security in the coming decades.
"Today we have an important, if not significant, event: the frigate 'Admiral Gorshkov' begins a long-distance sea voyage. But there is nothing unusual here: this is a common thing, but this time the ship is equipped with the latest Zircon hypersonic missile system, which has no analogues -- this is a sea-based hypersonic system -- as well as other weapons of the latest generations," Putin added.
As reported by IndiaNarrative.com earlier, the Russian President has claimed in the past that Zircon is capable of reaching speeds of about Mach 9 and hitting targets at a distance of more than 1,000 km.
Putin reiterated Wednesday that "such powerful weapons" will make it possible to reliably protect Russia from potential external threats and will help ensure the national interests of the country.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and frigate Gorshkov Commander Igor Krokhmal also attended the event.
"Today, the frigate Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov, with Zircon hypersonic missiles on board, is embarking on a long sea voyage across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea," said Shoigu.
The Minister stated that armed with Zircons, the warship is capable of "inflicting pinpoint and powerful strikes against the enemy" at sea and on land.
"At the same time, a feature of the Zircon hypersonic missiles is the ability to reliably overcome any modern advanced air defence systems -- missile defence. The missile's flight speed is more than nine Machs, and the range is over a thousand kilometre," he told the gathering.
Shoigu also mentioned that the "main efforts" during the campaign will be focused on countering Russia's threats, maintaining regional peace and stability jointly with friendly countries.
The Commander of the ship assured that the ship has undergone a full cycle of preparation and the crew is ready to carry out the combat service goals.
Detailing the readiness of the ship to carry out the assigned tasks, Krokhmal said that it is loaded with ammunition for missiles of the Zircon and Caliber complexes, air defence systems, torpedo weapons and artillery.