Zircon missile proved to be an easy target for Patriot

Zircon missile proved to be an easy target for Patriot

The missiles used by the Russian army to hit Kyiv on the morning of March 25 were identified as Zircon anti-ship hypersonic missiles.

Insidious attack on civilians

As a reminder, on March 25, explosions were heard in Kyiv even before the air alert was announced, as missiles were moving at high speed from the territory of Crimea. Missile fragments fell in several districts of the city. The biggest destruction occurred in the Pechersk district of Kyiv, where debris fell on a building of an educational institution. The attack injured 10 people, two of whom were hospitalized.

The Air Force reported that during a missile strike on Kyiv on March 25, the Ukrainian military destroyed two ballistic missiles launched by Russia from the territory of occupied Crimea.

The missiles were shot down by Ukrainian air defense forces. Experts have completed the identification of all the wreckage.

“These are 3M22 Zircon missiles. Now we can say for sure that the Russian occupation forces have the ability to launch these missiles from land-based carriers, which was not previously reported in detail,” said Oleksandr Kovalenko, a military and political expert at the Information Resistance group.

Ракета "Циркон" виявилася легкою мішенню для Patriot

3M22 Zircon

The 3M22 Zircon is an anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile adopted by the Russian Federation in January 2023. Moscow has claimed that the Zircon is hypersonic and capable of reaching speeds of more than Mach 8 (almost 10,000 kilometers per hour) and avoiding any existing air and missile defense systems. In addition to ships, the missile is capable of hitting ground targets.

In fact, Ukrainian experts have determined that the missile is flying at a much lower speed because it can be intercepted by US Patriot missiles, which have a speed of up to Mach 4.1.

Flying in the wrong direction

Andrii Kulchytskyi, Head of the Military Research Laboratory of Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise (Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise), said that the Zircon missile, which Russia used to attack Kyiv on February 7 and March 25, does not fulfill its intended combat mission. According to him, it “flies in the wrong direction”.

The expert said this in a commentary to Suspilne based on the results of the examination of the Zircon wreckage.

“This missile does not fulfill its combat mission. Everything that is charged, all the characteristics of “super” and “hyper” are just words, but in reality, the missile is still a long way from combat use. It flies in the wrong direction, does not do the job for which it is designed,” he said.

Easy target

The expert noted that Ukrainian air defense is capable of shooting them down. According to him, one of the fragments of the missile hit on March 25 clearly shows that it was shot down by the Patriot system.

The warhead of the Zircon contains no more than 40 kilograms of explosives.

“We are still analyzing, we will determine what kind of substance is there. But the warhead is small: it does not compare to the warheads of missiles such as X-101 and X-22,” he said.

Thus, the rusсіst army is testing new missiles on peaceful targets in the Ukrainian capital.


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