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Russia says it has fired hypersonic missile from submarine for first time

Russia says it has fired hypersonic missile from submarine for first time
Weapons can reportedly reach speeds in excess of 5,000mph

Russia says it has successfully test-fired a hypersonic missile from a submarine for the first time.

The defence ministry said on Monday the weapon was launched from the Severodvinsk submarine and hit a designated mock target in the Barents Sea, off the northwest coast of the country.

“The testfiring of the Tsirkon missile from a nuclear submarine was deemed successful,” the ministry said in a statement.

Low-quality video footage released by the ministry showed the missile shooting upwards from a submarine, its glare lighting up the night sky and illuminating the water’s surface.

The launch marked Tsirkon’s first from a submarine.

It previously has been repeatedly test-fired from a navy frigate, most recently in July.

Hypersonic missiles travel at much higher speeds than normal missiles and can change direction more quickly.

Because of this they are much harder for missile defence systems to intercept.

The United States, China and India and North Korea have also been attempting to develop the weapons.

In its July launch, Russia said the hypersonic missile it fired reached a speech of 8659.88km/h (5,381mph).

Experts said parts of footage showing had the launch had been deliberately blurred to make it harder to examine in detail.

President Vladimir Putin has said Tsirkon would be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 620 miles.

Mr Putin has emphasised that its deployment will significantly boost Russian military capability.

Officials said Tsirkon tests are to be completed later this year and it will be commissioned by the Russian navy in 2022.

Tsirkon is intended to arm Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines.

It is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia.

The Kremlin has made modernising the country’s arsenals a top priority amid the tensions with the West that followed Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

Putin announced an array of new hypersonic weapons in 2018 in one of his most bellicose speeches in years, saying they could hit almost any point in the world and evade a US-built missile shield.

Additional reporting by agencies.