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Ukraine's air defense might be challenged by Zircon missiles - UK intelligence

Ukraine's air defense might be challenged by Zircon missiles - UK intelligence Zircon may become a problem for Ukrainian air defense (Russian media)
Author: Maria Kholina

Russia may utilize a maneuverable launching complex to deploy its hypersonic Zircon missiles, posing a challenge to Ukrainian air defense systems, as reported by the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom.

According to the summary provided, based on analysis conducted by the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise, Russia reportedly employed the hypersonic Zircon missile for the first time during the attack on Ukraine on February 7. Video footage of the debris reveals fragments of the engine and steering mechanisms with specific markings characteristic of the 3M22 Zircon missile.

It is noted that Zircon is capable of reaching speeds of 9 Mach and has an effective firing range of up to 1000 km. Initially developed for use in the Russian Navy, there is concern over the method of deployment, as British intelligence indicates there are no vessels in the Black Sea capable of carrying such missiles.

"It is likely the Russian land-based K-300 coastal defence system has been adapted for this purpose. If its use is confirmed, this would present a significant challenge to Ukrainian air defences due to its speed and manoeuvrability," the report states.

The Ministry of Defense of Britain believes that Moscow is "testing a new operational weapon system in a live conflict environment to provide assurance and demonstrate capability."

Zircon missiles

Experts from the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise (KNIFE) have claimed that Russia employed Zircon against Ukraine on February 7.

Meanwhile, according to The New York Times, the United States has yet to confirm whether Russia indeed used the Zircon missile during the strike on Kyiv on February 7.

For more information on the Zircon missile and whether Russians did indeed attack Kyiv with it, please refer to the RBC-Ukraine report.