Russia's deadly Zircon hypersonic missile is apparently suffering from unspecified "childhood diseases," the Russian Navy's top admiral revealed. Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov told RIA Novosti that the weapon is likely still years away from entering service. In February of last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted that the developmental missile can hit speeds up to Mach 9 and eliminate targets up to 620 miles away. Visit Business Insider's home page for more stories.
Russia is in the process of developing a new hypersonic cruise missile — the 3M22 Zircon (Tsirkon), but the weapon is currently suffering from "childhood diseases," the Russian navy's top admiral revealed to Russian media, The Drive first reported. Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov told RIA Novosti that the Zircon hypersonic missile expected to eventually arm Russian frigates would be available to the fleet "in the coming years." The Russian admiral did not elaborate on what "childhood diseases" are affecting the weapon's development. He simply said that modernization efforts will correct these deficiencies. Yevmenov explained that work on the Zircon missile will be carried out simultaneously with ongoing efforts to arm warships with the 3M-54 Kalibr land-attack cruise missile. Russia's state-run TASS news agency reported without official confirmation last March that one of the Project 22350 Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates would likely test-launch the Zircon before the end of 2019. No test appears to have taken place, despite, as The Drive notes, speculation surrounding a missile test involving the Admiral Gorshkov in late November. While TASS reported that "the frigate's crew will hold a series of trials to test-fire new missile armament," a follow-on report, citing the Northern Fleet, revealed that "the frigate fired one cruise missile Kalibr and one missile Oniks from the onboard launchers." Neither missile is "new." Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in February of last year that the Zircon was able to hit speeds as high as Mach 9 and eliminate targets on land and at sea up to 620 miles away. The exact capabilities of the Zircon missile are unknown. In November of last year, he revealed that the Project 1155 Udaloy-class destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov and Project 949A Antey-class nuclear-powered submarine Irkutsk would be upgraded to carry the Zircon.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: We can thank the US military for the smelliest weapon in the world
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A US State Department report submitted to the UN last week provided more details about a...A US State Department report submitted to the UN last week provided more details about a nuclear accident in Russia in August and killed seven Russian engineers. The report's author told Insider that Russia's reaction to the accident, which occurred during attempts to recover a nuclear-powered cruise missile from the bottom of the sea, amounted to a cover-up. Another expert told Insider that radioactive materials could still be present in the surrounding area, putting inhabitants in danger. Visit Business Insider's home page for more stories. Russia's handling of a nuclear accident in August amounts to a cover-up, according to a State Department official who investigated the incident and reported the findings to the UN last week. In an interview, Thomas DiNanno, deputy assistant secretary and senior bureau official at the State Department's Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, pointed to the difference between his committee's findings about the incident and Russia's repeated denials and obfuscations. Signs point to a cover-up When Insider asked whether his department's findings pointed to a cover-up, DiNanno said, "Yes, that's exactly what we're saying." DiNanno's report found that on August 8, an accident occurred while Russian engineers attempted to recover a nuclear-powered cruise missile from the bottom of the White Sea. The missile had been there since a failed test in February 2018. After the explosion, Russian officials called for an evacuation of an area near Nyonoksa, Russia, and then called it off. Four nuclear monitoring stations went offline shortly after the accident, and Russian officials did not tell doctors treating victims of the accident about potential radiation poisoning. Later, Russian security agents requested that hospital staff sign non-disclosure agreements, The Moscow Times originally reported. "One of the things we were clear about is Russia has to answer for this — they have a lot to answer for," not just to the Russian people and nearby countries but to the entire world, DiNanno said. "This affects countries in South America [and] Africa as much as it does those immediate countries. It's not specifically about the accident. It's about how reckless Russia's weapons development program is, how aggressive it is," he said. The weapon, the 9M730 Burevestnik, a nuclear-powered cruise missile also called Skyfall, is part of what DiNanno referred to as an exotic weapons package. The Skyfall missile is not covered by the new START treaty, a nuclear nonproliferation treaty between the US and Russia. "We believe these exotic systems either shouldn't exist, and if they do exist, we have to have a discussion on ... how they would be controlled," DiNanno told Insider. The Skyfall missile is one of five so-called exotic systems Russia announced last year that are not authorized under the treaty. DiNanno estimated that the missile, which was not armed with nuclear warheads, was between about 60 miles and 120 miles from a population center while it was the bottom of the White Sea after the failed test last year. But when the weapon's nuclear reactor exploded during recovery efforts, "The Russian reaction to this was immediately to cover it up and shut off the international monitoring stations in Russia that are part of the CTBT," or Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, although the treaty is not yet entered into force, DiNanno said. 'This behavior is not acceptable' An expert with the State Department told Insider that the explosion still posed a danger to those in the vicinity. "A serious decontamination effort should be going on as we speak," the expert said. There also needs to be some effort to determine how far the fission products — the results of the nuclear explosion, which are radioactive — have permeated in the area. "As long as they stay there, their half-lives are in hundreds of years, and they should be cleaned up," the expert said. "We chose the venue of the UN to talk about this for a reason," DiNanno told Insider. "Maintaining these weapons is an awesome responsibility. This behavior is not acceptable."NOW READ: These ridiculous photos of Kim Jong Un riding a white horse mean everyone should actually be taking North Korea very seriously SEE ALSO: A terrifying new animation shows how 1 'tactical' nuclear weapon could trigger a US-Russia war that kills 34 million people in 5 hours Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's how easy it is for the US president to launch a nuclear weapon
Intelligence officials suspect that the explosion involved a prototype of a nuclear-propelled cruise missile that President...Intelligence officials suspect that the explosion involved a prototype of a nuclear-propelled cruise missile that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has boasted can reach any corner of the earth.