Russia to Arm Corvette Gremyashchiy with Tsirkon Hypersonic Missiles

The Russian Navy’s newest corvette Gremyashchiy (337) will be armed with the 3M22 Tsirkon hypersonic anti-ship missiles, TASS reported citing President Vladimir Putin.

According to the report, Putin made the announcement while onboard the vessel.

RFS Gremyashchiy is the lead ship of the Russian Navy’s newest Project 20385 Gremyashchiy-class of corvettes and is expected to enter service with the Pacific Fleet by the end of 2019. It is equipped with an 8-cell UKSK Vertical Launching System (VLS) currently carrying Kalibr subsonic land-attack cruise missiles.

The UKSK VLS is also capable of carrying state-of-the-art Tsirkon missiles, according to the corvette’s commander, Captain 2nd Rank Roman Dovgailov.

3M22 Tsirkon

The 3M22 Tsirkon/3M22 Zircon (Циркон, NATO reporting name: SS-N-33) is a scramjet-powered maneuvering hypersonic anti-ship/land attack cruise missile developed by Russia.

The missile is developed by NPO Mashinostroyeniya as a further development of its HELA (Hypersonic Experimental Flying Vehicle) concept that was on display at the 1995 MAKS Air Show.

The Zircon is believed to be a winged cruise missile with a lift-generating center body. A booster stage with solid-fuel engines accelerates it to supersonic speeds, after which a scramjet motor in the second stage accelerates it to hypersonic speeds.

Tsirkon is claimed to have a maximum flight speed of about Mach 9 and a maximum range capability of over 1,000 km. The missile can hit both naval and ground targets making it both an anti-ship missile (AShM) as well as a land-attack cruise missile (LACM).

Project 20385 Gremyashchiy-Class Corvette

The Project 20385 Gremyashchiy-class is an advanced development of the Project 20380 Steregushchiy-class corvettes of the Russian Navy. This follow-on project was designed by the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau in Saint Petersburg and the vessels are being built at the Severnaya Verf shipyard in St. Petersburg.

The vessels have a length of 106.0 m, a beam of 13 m, a draught of 5 m and a displacement of 2,500 tons.

They are equipped with a 100mm А190 multi-purpose naval gun, one 8-cell UKSK Vertical Launching System (VLS), two 8-cell Redut air defense VLS system, two AK-630M 30mm Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS), two quad 330mm torpedo tubes and two 14.5mm MTPU pintle-mounted Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs). The UKSK VLS can carry 3M-54 Kalibr, P-800 Oniks, RPK-9 Medvedka or 3M22 Zircon cruise missiles.

The multipurpose corvettes will be used to detect and engage enemy submarines and surface ships, support the landing of troops, protect the coastal zone and escort other ships.

The lead ship of the class, RFS Gremyashchiy was laid down on May 26, 2011, and the official laying down ceremony took place on February 1, 2012. The vessel was launched on June 30, 2017, and is expected to be commissioned into the Navy fleet later this year.

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