Putin celebrates 68th birthday with launch of ‘unstoppable’ 4,600mph Zircon hypersonic missile that can hit US citiesOctober 7, 2020
VLADIMIR Putin celebrated his 68th birthday today with a launch of an "unstoppable" 4,600mph Zircon hypersonic missile.
The launch has been identified by Moscow's state-controlled TV as Putin's weapon of choice to wipe out U.S cities in the event of a nuclear war.
Birthday boy Putin called the launch "a great event not only in the life of the Armed Forces but also in the whole of Russia".
The deadly missile is “the newest, truly unparalleled weapon system in the world” ensuring “the defence capability of our state”.
Russia's Chief of General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov confirmed the missile, which was launched from the White sea, successfully hit a target in the Barents Sea.
“The task was completed successfully, a direct hit was registered,” he said.
“The range of the flight reached 450 kilometres [279 miles], maximum altitude 28 kilometres, the duration of the flight was 4.5 minutes."
A clearly thrilled Putin today hailed the test and those who had worked on Zircon.
"This work – we know about it – is a huge work of our scientists, engineers, talented workers, military specialists. This is a big stage in equipping the Armed Forces with the latest systems.
"I know that all of you act not only as customers but also as full-fledged participants in the process of creating such modern systems.
"Once again, I congratulate you on this event and wish you continued success."
Hypersonic cruise missile Zircon is designed to be used against ships or land-based targets, and to enter production in 2021, commencing service the following year.
A radiation leak during a military accident which killed two and wounded six people last year is claimed to have involved the missile.
Radiation levels temporarily soared 20 times above the normal level in a town 18 miles from the weapons testing site, according to Greenpeace citing the Russian Emergencies Ministry.
Last year Dmitry Kiselyov, presenter of Russia’s main weekly TV news show Vesti Nedeli, showed on screen a map of the U.S identifying targets he claimed Moscow would want to hit in a nuclear war.
Kiselyov, seen as a top Putin propagandist, said the Zircon missile could hit the targets in less than five minutes.
Putin warned this year that the West is seeking to steal secrets relating to Zircon and other state-of-the-art Russian weapons such as the Avangard.
He told his FSB counterintelligence service: "That means that your work should become even more effective."
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