About Zircon missile-
- It is a scramjet powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile.
- It can travel more than five times the speed of sound and manoeuvre in mid-flight, making them much harder to track and intercept than traditional projectiles.
- It could hit targets at sea and on land with a range of 1,000 kilometres (620 miles).
- The Zircon looks set to join Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles that were put into service in 2019 and the air-launched Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles in Russia’s arsenal.
- Russia had placed into service its first Avangard hypersonic missile in December 2019, making it the first country to claim an operable hypersonic weapon.
Hypersonic technology in India-
- India has also developed Hypersonic Technology as the DRDO successfully launched the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) in its maiden test.
- The HSTDV was an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic speed flight.
- It could cruise at a speed of Mach 6 and move up to an altitude of 32.5 km in 20 seconds.
- According to DRDO, besides its utility for long-range cruise missiles of the future, the dual-use technology will have multiple civilian applications also.
- It can be used for launching satellites at a low cost too.
What are hypersonic missiles?
- A hypersonic missile is a vehicle that achieves a speed five times faster than the speed of sound, crossing Mach 5.
- These missiles travel at a speed of around 6,115 km per hour, with a combination of technology and manoeuvrability of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.
- These systems are one of the more recent warfare technologies being developed by China, North Korea, Russia and the United States.
- They are more agile than the typical intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBM.
- They can travel much faster than current nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles at low altitudes, can switch direction in flight and do not follow a predictable arc like conventional missiles, making them much harder to track and intercept.