September 19, 2020

Fastest Hypersonic Cruise Missile in the World: Must-Know Things for UPSC IAS Preparation

Used against terrestrial targets, missiles that stay in the atmosphere and the major part of the path is flown at a speed that is approximately constant, is termed as a cruise missile.

Categorized by speed, size, range, launching area such as air/ land/ submarine/ surface ship, cruise missiles are divided into six types. The categories of cruise missiles are Hypersonic, Supersonic, Intercontinental-range Supersonic, Long-range Subsonic, Medium-range Subsonic, Short-range Subsonic.

Presently there are many supersonic cruise missiles in the world, many are still in the development stage. In this article, you will get to know about the fastest cruise missile in the world and also get information about some of the fastest hypersonic missiles in the world. So, let’s waste no more time and scroll down to know all about these missiles.

Fastest Supersonic Cruise Missile in the World

Presently, BrahMos missile is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world which is designed and developed to be launched from ships, aircraft, land or submarine. India and Russia are jointly engaged in the development of the BrahMos missile. This is also the fastest cruise missile in the world.

The BrahMos Aerospace was formed by India’s DRDO and Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya. The name “BrahMos” was formed by joining the names of two rivers of India and Russia; Moskva of Russia and Brahmaputra of India.

  • On 12 June 2001 from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur BrahMos missile was first test-fired. It was the surface-to-surface variants.
  • The first test-firing of the submarine-launched variant of Brahmos took place on 20 March 2013 from a submerged pontoon near Visakhapatnam at the coast of Bay of Bengal.
  • Against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal from a Sukhoi-30MKI, BrahMos-A, the air-launched variant was successfully test-fired for the first time on 22nd November 2017.

Fastest Hypersonic Missiles in the World

Presently there are only three hypersonic missiles in the world which are soon to be put in service. Hypersonic missile countries like Russia, China and the USA are constantly working on this technology and recently India also joined the league by successfully test-firing HSTDV.

World’s Fastest Hypersonic Cruise Missile List:

  • 3M22 Zircon Missile
  • Shaurya Missile
  • BrahMos II

3M22 Zircon Missile

It is a scramjet-powered manoeuvring anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile presently under testing by Russia. This one of the fastest hypersonic missiles in the world is designed with a lift-generating centre body.

This hypersonic missile’s speed is around Mach 8 to 9 and has an operational range from 1000 to 2000 km, depending on the type of target. This is designed to be launched from submarine and surface ships.

From the Admiral Gorshkov frigate in the Barents Sea, Zircon was first test-launched in January 2020 and was able to hit the ground target in Northern Urals. It also exceeded the distance of 500 km.

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