Forbes magazine published an article in which it puts forward the version that the Russian Navy will be the first in the world to receive hypersonic weapons: the first launch of the Zircon hypersonic cruise missile from the K-561 Kazan submarine is scheduled for next year.
The speed of the Zircon is from Mach 5 to Mach 10, that is, about 10, 000 km / h. According to experts, the rocket has a ramjet engine (ramjet), which gives it the ability to develop hypersonic speed. Initially, the rocket uses a jet booster to exit the submarine's launcher.
According to Russian sources, the Zircon's flight altitude ranges from 30 to 40 km. At a speed of about 10, 000 km / h per minute, the rocket flies almost 160 km. The SPY-1 radar, installed on ships of the US Navy, is capable of detecting a warhead at a distance of about 300 km. It follows from this that naval air defense systems have less than two minutes to detect, escort and destroy a missile, which is clearly not enough.
To this should be added the unpredictable maneuvers of the Zircon in the final phase of the flight, which finally nullifies all attempts to intercept the missile.
As countermeasures, Western experts propose to install a radar at a high altitude, which will allow detecting hypersonic missiles at an increased range, as well as automating air defense using artificial intelligence, entrusting it with the decision-making function. However, this proposal looks rather risky, since military operations can take place in places where civilian ships and aircraft are present.