Russia to equip new nuclear subs with hypersonic missiles

Russia is in the process of equipping its new multi-purpose nuclear submarines of the Yasen-M project with hypersonic missiles, namely SS-N-33 Zircon (Russian; NATO reporting name). 

Currently, work in this direction is already underway.

Yasen-class submarines, also known as Project 885M, are nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines, built to replace Soviet-era nuclear attack submarines as part of a programme to modernise the army and fleet.

Noteworthy, the Russian multi-purposes frigate Admiral Gorshkov, which has tested its strike capabilities in the western Atlantic Ocean earlier this year, has been already equipped with Zircon missiles.


About 3M22 / SS-N-33 Zircon Hypersonic Missiles

The 3M22 Zircon or the SS-N-33 is a maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile developed in Russia.

It is a two-stage missile that uses solid fuel in the first stage and a scramjet motor in the second stage.

Further, the sea-based Zircon hypersonic missiles have a range of 900 km (560 miles), and can travel at several times the speed of sound, making it difficult to defend against them.

Quick Facts

In service: In service (4 January 2023)

Used by: Russian Navy

Designer and Manufacturer: NPO Mashinostroyeniya

Produced: 2021–Present


Length: 9 m (30 ft)

Diameter: 60 cm (24 in)

Effective Firing Range: 1,000 km (620 mi)

Maximum Firing Range: 1,000 km (620 mi)

Warhead: > 300 HE, >200 kt nuclear

Warhead Weight: 300–400 kg (660–880 lb)

Engine: Scramjet

Propellant: Liquid – “Decilin-M” (Russian: Децилин-М)

Operational Range: >1,000 km (540 nmi; 620 mi)

Flight Altitude: 28 km (92,000 ft)

Maximum Speed: Mach 9 (6,900 mph; 11,000 km/h; 3.1 km/s) (Max)

Launch Platform: Submarine, Surface ship, while Land-based is under development