Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed of a successful hypersonic missile test on Tuesday by Russian Military Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov. Photo courtesy of the Office of the Russian President
Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Russia announced the successful test-firing of its Zircon hypersonic missile on Wednesday, striking a target 300 miles away after traveling at over 6,100 mph.
The announcement came in a teleconference between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov, transcribed on the presidential website.
"At 7:15 am yesterday [Tuesday], the frigate Admiral Gorshkov deployed in the White Sea, [and] for the first time fired a Tsirkon [Zircon] hypersonic cruise missile at a sea target in the Barents Sea ... The missile destroyed the target in a direct hit," Gerasimov said.
Gerasimov added that the 4.5-minute flight covered a distance of 298 miles, had a maximum altitude of 17.3 miles and reached "the hypersonic speed of over Mach 8," or 6,138 mph.
The test-firing coincided with Putin's 68th birthday.
A notice to airmen was issued for the White Sea, an Arctic Ocean inlet with complete Russian sovereignty, for the period from Oct.5 to Oct. 9. It is a standard notice to military pilots from all nations that a weapons test will be conducted, and employed to reduce potential hazards and conflicts.
Anatoly Antonov, Russian ambassador to the United States, said on Wednesday that the test was not meant to intimidate any enemy.
"We will discuss today's example with Zircon for a long time, but I would like to emphasize that Russia is not thus trying to show its muscles or rattle weapons," Antonov said on Russia television.
He added that the United States is "watching very closely what is happening here. If the Pentagon is silent, this does not mean that they do not pay attention. Any step of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is important for them."
The U.S. Defense Department did not immediately offer a comment on Gerasimov's claims.