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Russian 3M22 Tsirkon Hypersonic Missile

bobbymike

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http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/breaking-russia-tests-new-hypersonic-cruise-missile-15527

Russia has apparently started testing a new hypersonic cruise missile called the 3M-22 Zircon. The new weapon will equip Moscow’s modernized Project 11442 Kirov-class nuclear-powered battlecruisers and its next-generation nuclear submarines.

“The tests of the hypersonic Zircon missiles have begun using a ground-based launching site,” a Russian defense industry source told state-owned RIA Novosti media outlet.

The new missiles Mach 5.0-Mach 6.0 would replace the Pyotr Velikyi’s and its sister ship
 

sferrin

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Rocket-powered hypersonic weapons could almost be thought of as a poor man's stealth. LRASM will cut down the window it can be engaged at by not being detected until it's relatively close. A hypersonic weapon would do it by covering the distance between detection and impact much more quickly. So you could end up with a non-stealthy hypersonic weapon having the same window of engagement as a slower stealth weapon. Of course the big difference is if you miss it. That hypersonic weapon is going to HURT a lot more when it hits.
 

bobbymike

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sferrin said:
Rocket-powered hypersonic weapons could almost be thought of as a poor man's stealth. LRASM will cut down the window it can be engaged at by not being detected until it's relatively close. A hypersonic weapon would do it by covering the distance between detection and impact much more quickly. So you could end up with a non-stealthy hypersonic weapon having the same window of engagement as a slower stealth weapon. Of course the big difference is if you miss it. That hypersonic weapon is going to HURT a lot more when it hits.
If you watch the "Record Rocket Sled" test video on Youtube you see the final stage booster's incredibly rapid acceleration could this be part of a 'boost to impact' type weapon?

Also, as I've complained vociferously there seems to be many short term 'solid rocket' missile solutions to the 'speed' question I just don't understand why they are not pursued. :-\
 

Avimimus

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sferrin said:
Rocket-powered hypersonic weapons could almost be thought of as a poor man's stealth. LRASM will cut down the window it can be engaged at by not being detected until it's relatively close. A hypersonic weapon would do it by covering the distance between detection and impact much more quickly. So you could end up with a non-stealthy hypersonic weapon having the same window of engagement as a slower stealth weapon. Of course the big difference is if you miss it. That hypersonic weapon is going to HURT a lot more when it hits.
Yes and even if the defending platform is able to detect the launch and react in time, the total amount of time that the missile is within the range of active countermeasures is shorter (e.g. It passes through CIWS range quickly and missile interceptors need to be more accurate). It would also give less time for a target to change its position after deploying passive countermeasures (i.e. decoys).

Is it correct to assume that this thing would be using something closer to a parabolic trajectory than a sea-skimming approach?
 

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https://twitter.com/navyrecognition/status/700606429997051908

This looks to be a very high altitude weapon. A dead-end, in my opinion. And a typical approach to anti-ship missiles they have been following since Kh-22, a Mach 5 weapon. The problem I think is that it needs to be high altitude and it limits the sensors it can carry to detect and engage a ship. With today's Aegis systems, does the hypothetical "reduced detection time" matter so much? If you have to fly at 60,000 feet to reach Mach 5, are you likely to even get a reduced detection time?

Besides detection time, there's also distance to detection. There's more weapon types you can engage with if you detect the threat at 10x the range of a sea-skimmer, and if airborne early warning is involved, it makes their job of detection easier. If facing E-2D/SM-6 combo, this does not seem preferable to stealthy sea-skimmers.

PS: I suspect the Russians are being overly optimistic if they think they can develop a scram-jet practical weapon in the short-term future. But for propaganda purposes, it will be as great a coup for them as all their other brochure weapons.

PPS: Sorry, turns out the Russians are claiming its ramjet. Which would make their claims of Mach 7, impossible. So, typical brochure weapon.
 

DrRansom

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Are there any actual pictures of the Zircon? The link shows a Brahmos II mockup.

There is a distinct lack of information, beyond it being hypersonic. Even hypersonic is a squishy enough term to mean a wide range of capabilities.

As to the actual missile theory, the counter argument is that anti-stealth will improve as ship-board radar gets better. Unlike a stealth fighter, a stealth AShM will have to penetrate all the way to the radar source, it has no range to aid the stealth effect. It is important here to note that the US is trying to field two hyoersonic systems.

In terms of advantages, a hypersonic missile has a kinematic advantage over interceptors, if conducting terminal maneuvers it will pose serious challenges to a missile defense. This was a topic of active research, but I don't know if how much was solved, esp as nobody in the west has a hypersonic missile analog.

What is confusing about the Zircon is the range, which is rumored to be ~250nm. That seems to be very short for a modern missile. Maybe the Russians are trading size, 80 on a Kirov, for range?

Last thought, I'm not surprised the Russians beat the US to hypersonics. Russia has more practical experience at hypersonic cruising weapons from the old, massive, Russian missiles.
 

sferrin

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DrRansom said:
Russia has more practical experience at hypersonic cruising weapons from the old, massive, Russian missiles.
None of them cruised at hypersonic speed. Also it's a bit early to be declaring them the winner seeing how just about every report is different and seems to have whatever missile the author could find a picture of at the time. Doesn't even say it's mode of propulsion.
 

DrRansom

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Mach 4 and Mach 5 are not that far apart aerodynamically...

The issue is the lack of development experience for the US at those speeds, remember LRASM-A cancellation.

As for Zircon, there is a lot we don't know about. No picture, rumors of Backfire tests, which make little sense. I wonder if it isn't a boost-glide missile, one which incorporates advances in propellant to allow a similar speed in a smaller form-factor. Alternatively, maybe a boost plus dual mode Ramjet for propulsion in terminal dive?
 

sferrin

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DrRansom said:
Mach 4 and Mach 5 are not that far apart aerodynamically...
Maybe not but there's a huge difference between a Mach 5 rocket and a Mach 5 scramjet.

DrRansom said:
The issue is the lack of development experience for the US at those speeds, remember LRASM-A cancellation.
You mean LRASM-B. LRASM-A is fine. As for LRASM-B it was based on ASALM which reached Mach 5.4 back in the late 70s/early 80s. So technically, the US already beat Russia to it. (Of course we were dumb enough to cancel it but that's another story.)

DrRansom said:
As for Zircon, there is a lot we don't know about. No picture, rumors of Backfire tests, which make little sense. I wonder if it isn't a boost-glide missile, one which incorporates advances in propellant to allow a similar speed in a smaller form-factor. Alternatively, maybe a boost plus dual mode Ramjet for propulsion in terminal dive?
No idea. Kh-22 already does most of that. So far what we have isn't much better than a rumor.
 

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DrRansom said:
if conducting terminal maneuvers it will pose serious challenges to a missile defense.
It will also be detected and engaged before it gets to the terminal phase.

Last thought, I'm not surprised the Russians beat the US to hypersonics
The US has been training against Mach 4 anti-ship missile targets for decades now. And yet it hasn't fielded any such weapons of its own. US hypersonic missiles seem to be developed for particular purposes, such as time-sensitive targets, rather than as a means of evading defenses (and is probably why they never go anywhere, because they are weapons in search of a mission)

These are precisely the sort of targets the USN has optimized its defenses against.
 

Avimimus

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Btw. Also - isn't the Russian threshold for 'hypersonic' different from the American? Different languages - different uses of words...
 

sferrin

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Avimimus said:
Btw. Also - isn't the Russian threshold for 'hypersonic' different from the American? Different languages - different uses of words...
It's not just that. Your average "journalist" will throw "hypersonic" in there just for the clicks. One could almost say, "supersonic" is old-fashioned. It's either subsonic or hypersonic. Even if it only goes Mach 2.
 

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3M22 Tsirkon is Brahmos II, as far as I can tell.

It was initially expected (2011) to be Mach 7, and powered by a scramjet engine. True hypersonic.

There were reports of technical problems a few years ago, then recently prototypes are apparently being tested. What exactly is being tested, its speed, even its propulsion, is I think uncertain at this point. I've seen mention of 300 (for export) - 1000km range, speed "above Mach 4.5". If its being tested already, I'd expect its been scaled down in ambition significantly and probably doesn't have a working scramjet engine (yet).
 

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PaulMM (Overscan) said:
3M22 Tsirkon is Brahmos II, as far as I can tell.

It was initially expected (2011) to be Mach 7, and powered by a scramjet engine. True hypersonic.

There were reports of technical problems a few years ago, then recently prototypes are apparently being tested. What exactly is being tested, its speed, even its propulsion, is I think uncertain at this point. I've seen mention of 300 (for export) - 1000km range, speed "above Mach 4.5". If its being tested already, I'd expect its been scaled down in ambition significantly and probably doesn't have a working scramjet engine (yet).
Yep. If this is to be a viable weapon, it is something that isn't going to happen in the next 10 years at least.

There's two possibilities I think: 1) just propaganda, and likely, 2) they're talking about Barhmos-M, a smaller version of Brahmos.

Considering that the model of Barhmos II they have shown is actually considerably bigger than an SS-N-19 Shipwreck missile, it would be hard to believe they could quadruple the launchers in the same space. And even last year their joint Russian-Indian team for Brahmos II said it was still 10 years away. That, as usual, is probably also wishful thinking.
 

sferrin

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Arian said:
Yep. If this is to be a viable weapon, it is something that isn't going to happen in the next 10 years at least.

There's two possibilities I think: 1) just propaganda, and likely, 2) they're talking about Barhmos-M, a smaller version of Brahmos.

Considering that the model of Barhmos II they have shown is actually considerably bigger than an SS-N-19 Shipwreck missile, it would be hard to believe they could quadruple the launchers in the same space.

P-700 isn't exactly small either.
 

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DrRansom

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From Wikipedia, the Shipwreck weights 7,000kg while the Bramhos/P-700 Onyx weighs 3,000kg. On that metric alone, it appears that Onyx can be fitted onto many more warships. I don't even know if much work has been done on Brahmos-II.

I still wonder if we're underestimating the Zircon. From what we can observe from the outside, the Russian military says that Zircon will:
1. Be introduced onto the flagship as well as submarines
2. Replace P-700 and 3M-54 Sizzler in Russian service as premier anti-ship missile

From those two statements, we can expect that whatever Zircon is, it is better than the weapons it is replacing. This suggests that the missile is either: very much faster than the high-altitude diving predecessors or capable of low altitude / supersonic terminal flight or cheaper to build for similar performance.

What it doesn't say is if Zircon will be scramjet / ramjet / or rocket powered. I would also be surprised if Russia gives scramjet design to India before developing their own scramjet capability. It could be a repeat of the P-700 / Bramhos story, where Russia develops some technology first and then completes the work with foreign funding.
 

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Or its all propaganda, one of a dozen similar wonder-weapons. Onyx isn't even in service with any Russian navy ships, despite nearly 30 years of development.
 

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http://sputniknews.com/military/20160317/1036437650/zircon-hypersonic-cruise-missiles.html
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
http://sputniknews.com/military/20160317/1036437650/zircon-hypersonic-cruise-missiles.html
That picture is a land-based Shaddock or Sandbox. (SS-N-3 or SS-N-12) Don't recall the designations for the land-based variants off the top of my head.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrfSljvp5cc
 

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Arian said:
Or its all propaganda, one of a dozen similar wonder-weapons. Onyx isn't even in service with any Russian navy ships, despite nearly 30 years of development.
It is in service with coastal anti ship forces as part of the Bastion complex. Your use of words such as "propaganda" and "wonder weapons" is baffling, unless it is part of an overall message you're attempting to convey?
 

sferrin

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kaiserbill said:
Arian said:
Or its all propaganda, one of a dozen similar wonder-weapons. Onyx isn't even in service with any Russian navy ships, despite nearly 30 years of development.
It is in service with coastal anti ship forces as part of the Bastion complex. Your use of words such as "propaganda" and "wonder weapons" is baffling, unless it is part of an overall message you're attempting to convey?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AW1XHUcAsQ


1:20
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbPFEpJSRT8

Also Brahmos, (the Indian version of Yakhont) is deployed on several ships.
 

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kaiserbill said:
Arian said:
Or its all propaganda, one of a dozen similar wonder-weapons. Onyx isn't even in service with any Russian navy ships, despite nearly 30 years of development.
It is in service with coastal anti ship forces as part of the Bastion complex. Your use of words such as "propaganda" and "wonder weapons" is baffling, unless it is part of an overall message you're attempting to convey?
My statement is correct: it's not in service on any Russian navy ship. Saying that there are some ground-based systems doesn't change the fact that my statement is still correct.

As for propaganda, that is still also correct. Even by the accounts of the Brahmos II design team itself, they expect another 10 years of development. So how is it not propaganda if the designers say they have nothing of the sort, but news sites claim it as not only something in testing and on the verge of entering service, but also of capabilities which are impossible given the propulsion or size the system has been advertised as having. As an example, the Brahmos II mockup is larger in size than the current SS-N-19 Shipwreck missiles of the Kirov. How does one quadruple the size of missiles carried, if they are even bigger? That's the definition of propaganda.
 

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Arian said:
My statement is correct: it's not in service on any Russian navy ship. Saying that there are some ground-based systems doesn't change the fact that my statement is still correct.
Graney SSN carries them... or perhaps you consider submarine isn't a ship.

the Brahmos II mockup is larger in size than the current SS-N-19 Shipwreck missiles of the Kirov. How does one quadruple the size of missiles carried, if they are even bigger? That's the definition of propaganda.
So where is this "physical measurement" of Brahmos II mockup you keep coming up with
 

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Brahmos II mockup is nothing more than X-51-based placeholder.
Tsirkon is more ... ordinary looking.
 

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stealthflanker said:
So where is this "physical measurement" of Brahmos II mockup you keep coming up with
http://bastion-karpenko.ru/brahmos-2/

You're missing my point about Brahmos. The system took about 20-25 years of development time, and more than 30 years to get into operation, and it was much less ambitions than this other claimed system, which we are to believe is just around the corner. Even though, their own program developer (in the link above), says will take another 10 years of development. That was my point.

Brahmos II mockup is nothing more than X-51-based placeholder.
Tsirkon is more ... ordinary looking.
Undoubtedly, it's too close to X-51 in appearance. Which is why the eventual outcome is not likely to have any of the claimed performance characteristics.
 

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Arian said:
Undoubtedly, it's too close to X-51 in appearance. Which is why the eventual outcome is not likely to have any of the claimed performance characteristics.
Wrong. The conclusion from that model is that it is generic, most emphatically NOT an accurate depiction of the real thing and hence provides NO reliable clues about the capabilities of the actual weapon.
 

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http://www.nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/russias-lethal-hypersonic-zircon-cruise-missile-enter-15909
 

flateric

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tease...
 

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sferrin

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Is there any actual hard information on this? For all we know it could just be a rocket, something like a mini-Shaurya.
 

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Bank to turn config would argue an air-breather rather than (semi-)ballistic rocket, assuming flateric's cross-section drawing is accurate (and, this being flateric, chances are it's going to be ;) ).

EDIT: Also, the domestic variant of the Iskander SRBM pretty much is a mini-Shaurya already - why develop another one?
 

flateric

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...
 

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sferrin

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Has Russia actually flight tested scramjets successfully or is this a ramjet or boost-glide weapon?
 

flateric

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Wiki is ready for help, my friend. We have started as early as 1991.
 

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Trident said:
Arian said:
Undoubtedly, it's too close to X-51 in appearance. Which is why the eventual outcome is not likely to have any of the claimed performance characteristics.
Wrong. The conclusion from that model is that it is generic, most emphatically NOT an accurate depiction of the real thing and hence provides NO reliable clues about the capabilities of the actual weapon.
And what have I been saying the whole time?
 

Trident

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Arian said:
And what have I been saying the whole time?
I don't know what it was that you intended to say, but...

Arian said:
https://twitter.com/navyrecognition/status/700606429997051908

This looks to be a very high altitude weapon.
Arian said:
As an example, the Brahmos II mockup is larger in size than the current SS-N-19 Shipwreck missiles of the Kirov.
Arian said:
Undoubtedly, it's too close to X-51 in appearance. Which is why the eventual outcome is not likely to have any of the claimed performance characteristics.
it definitely came out as though you were basing various deductions about the actual weapon's capabilities squarely on the appearance of that generic, non-representative model.

"The model is this big, so Tsirkon cannot possibly be packed as tightly as claimed"

"The model looks like the X-51, so Tsirkon will perform much like it and not live up to performance claims"

Except that the real Tsirkon may well have little to do with the model...
 

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flateric said:
Wiki is ready for help, my friend. We have started as early as 1991.
Brahmos are developing Hypersonic variant in two part as per its CEO Dr Sudhir

The first step is to achieve Mach 5 would be to use improved Ramjet propulsion that would increase the speed to little over Mach 5.
The second part is Scramjet propulsion to improve the speed between Mach 6-7.

The first variant would be available in next 5 years but the second one involving scramjet would take a decade.
 

sferrin

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flateric said:
Wiki is ready for help, my friend. We have started as early as 1991.
If you're referring to the SA-5 scramjet tests that was pretty much a bust.
 

sferrin

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Austin said:
flateric said:
Wiki is ready for help, my friend. We have started as early as 1991.
Brahmos are developing Hypersonic variant in two part as per its CEO Dr Sudhir

The first step is to achieve Mach 5 would be to use improved Ramjet propulsion that would increase the speed to little over Mach 5.
The second part is Scramjet propulsion to improve the speed between Mach 6-7.

The first variant would be available in next 5 years but the second one involving scramjet would take a decade.
Is there reason to believe the process would go any smoother in India than in the US. Fasthawk, HyFly, X-51, etc. were all suppose to be slam dunks. Turned out. . .not so much.
 

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http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/pm-modi-has-brought-a-paradigm-shift-in-defence-make-in-india-an-imperative-brahmos-sudhir-mishra/articleshow/50848593.cms

BrahMos Mark II or Hypersonic BrahMos will be able to fly much faster than the existing one. The speed of the existing BrahMos missile is 2.8 to 3 Mach. In order to make a pure hypersonic missile, one has to make a scramjet engine. Our study suggests that the present engine can be improved if we redesign some components and do proper thermal management, after which the missile can travel at a speed of 5 Mach.At 5 Mach speed, the engine cannot be called pure hypersonic. In fact it is juust beginning of the hypersonic regime.

There are some problems in making a pure hypersonic engine. As of now, we are conducting research completely in the theoretical region. To test a pure hypersonic engine, we will have to make electronics which can withstand very high temperature. We have to make it shock proof so that it can withstand speed of 8-9 Mach. My estimate is that we will be standing at the door of hypersonic engine in about three to four years, and pure hypersonic in about seven to eight years.
 
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