Russian Battlecruiser to Receive 3M22 Hypersonic Cruise Missiles

The Russian Kirov-class  battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great) will be modernized and equipped with hypersonic cruise missiles by 2022. In fact, the 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is in trials and has been considered for introduction on the largest surface combatant warships in the world and the flagship of the Russian Northern Fleet.

Once the trials are completed and confirmed successful, the 3k22 Zircon missile system will be presented for state approval.

Russian Navy Kirov-class battlecruiser 'Peter the Great'
Russian Navy Kirov-class battlecruiser ‘Peter the Great’

“The Pyotr Veliky will start repairs in the third or fourth quarter of 2019. Repairs and upgrade are due for completion in late 2022, the ship to be equipped with Zircon hypersonic anti-ship missiles,” a shipbuilding industry source told TASS.

3M22 Zircon Missile. Courtesy of Navy Recognition.
The Brahmos II is most likelthe the export version of the 3M22 Zircon Missile. Courtesy of Navy Recognition.

Although technical details are highly classified, it has been reported that it’s being developed in at least two options: airborne and seaborne. The missile could reach 5-6 Mach, but others believe it could reach 10 Mach at its most.

3S-14 vertical launch systems

The nuclear-powered battlecruiser will also be refitted with the 3S-14 vertical launch systems (VLS). Containing 8 missiles, the VLS can house 3 types of missiles.

  1. 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles
  2. P-800 Onyx supersonic anti-ship cruise missile
  3. Kalibr  land-attack cruise missile, anti-ship missile and anti-submarine missile

That said, the Pyotr Velikiy could be armed with more than 80 cruise missiles, packing an enormous punch. The 3S-14 would become the launching platform for the 3M22 Zircon.

Currently,  6 different Russian warship is equipped with the 3S-14 Agat VLS.

  • Admiral Grigorovich class frigate – 3S14 Agat for Kalibr or BrahMos (8 cells)
  • Admiral Gorshkov class frigate – 3S14 Agat for Kalibr or Oniks (8 cells)
  • Buyan-M class corvette – 3S14 Agat for Kalibr or Oniks (8 cells)
  • Gepard-class frigate – 3S14 Agat for Kalibr or Uran (8 cells)
  • Steregushchy class corvette – 3S14 Agat for Kalibr (1 x 6 cells) or Oniks (2 x 4 cells) or Uran (1 x 8 cells)
  • Gremyashchy class corvette – 3S14 Agat for Kalibr or Oniks (1 x 8 cells)

 

Another Russian Kirov-class  battlecruiser, the Admiral Nakhimov, is currently undergoing refitting since late 2014 and will be configured like the Pyotr Velikiy.

 

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Copyright 2016 The Sentinel

Jonathan Wade, CD

Jonathan Wade is the director of the ‘The Sentinel Analytical Group’ and a decorated veteran of the Canadian Forces. Specialized in tactical, strategic, intelligence and geopolitics analysis, Jonathan has a fondness for technical details. His military experience brought him valuable insight on the realities of conflicts and war. A combat veteran of Afghanistan, Jonathan brings in in-theatre experience. Jonathan writes about Russia, Canada and Arctic.