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.
“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.
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.
- 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles
- P-800 Onyx supersonic anti-ship cruise missile
- 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.