Zircon Missile

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Zircon Missile Blog Image


In an attempt to hit a target in Kyiv, Russian forces launched a 3M22 Zircon missile recently.

About Zircon Missile

  • The 3M22 Zircon, or SS-N-33, is a scramjet-powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile developed in Russia.
  • Features:
    • The missile is reportedly capable of flying with speeds up to Mach 9 and a range of 1000 km.
    • It’s a two-stage missile that uses solid fuel in the first stage and a scramjet motor in the second stage. 
    • Zircon cruise missiles use cooled supersonic combustion ramjet engines, which power combustion by compressing air flowing at supersonic speeds due to the missile’s forward motion.
  • This is in contrast to other hypersonic weapons like the China-made DF-17 or the Russian-made Avangard, which use a Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV), which rely on the initial momentum provided by multi-stage rocket boosters like those used on a ballistic missile to accelerate them to hypersonic speeds.
    • Guidance System: Active and Passive Radar Seeker.
    • Another valuable aspect of the missile is its plasma cloud. During flight, the missile is completely covered by a plasma cloud that absorbs any rays of radio frequencies and makes the missile invisible to radars. 

Q1) What are cruise missiles?

Cruise missiles are unmanned vehicles that are propelled by jet engines, much like an airplane. They can be launched from ground, air, or sea platforms. Cruise missiles remain within the atmosphere for the duration of their flight and can fly as low as a few meters off the ground. Flying low to the surface of the earth expends more fuel but makes a cruise missile very difficult to detect. 

Source: Russia’s ‘Ship Launched’ Zircon Hypersonic Missile Strikes Ukraine For The 1st Time, Report Claims; Experts Uncertain