Northern Fleet first to get storage and maintenance facility for Tsirkon missile
The Ministry of Defense has already started to build facilities for the Northern Fleet for storing and handling of the navy’s new advanced Tsirkon missile, Izvestia reports on Tuesday.
It is the Northern Fleet’s importance that is the reason for giving priority over the three other fleets; the Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific.
“The choice of the Northern Fleet is not accidental,” says military expert Dmitry Boltenkov to Izvestia. “It plays an important role in the Russian defense doctrine,” he says and points to the Northern Fleet’s tasks of retaliating against a potential aggressor, conducting air-, sea- and submarine operations in the Atlantic, Arctic and other oceans.
Also, the Barents- and White Seas are the waters where the Tsirkon missile is being tested.
Last test took place in late November by the frigate “Admiral Gorshkov” from the White Sea to a target in the Barents Sea at a range of 400 kilometres the Defense Ministry said at the time.
Previously, the missile has also been tested from the “Severodvinsk” nuclear-powered submarine.
More tests of the hypersonic missile are expected.
On December 17, several giant areas over the White- and Barents Seas are marked with NOTAM-warnings (Notice to Airmen) in three time-windows within the period from 1 am to 5 pm.
The size and length of the warning areas, aimed to keep civilian air traffic away, indicate shootings with a long-range missile. The warnings, however, say nothing about what kind of military activity will take place.
Russia’s Western Arctic Sea Ports Administration in Murmansk has issued a few coastal warnings for seafarers in the Barents- and White Seas this week. The warnings are marked with “Rocket Shooting” and “Artillery shooting”.
Izvestia says it is not disclosed the exact location of the new storage and maintenance facility for the Tsirkon missile, but the Northern Fleet’s main missile- and ammunition site is in the hillside of Okolnaya Bay, across the waters from the headquarters in Severomorsk north of Murmansk.
As previously reported by the Barents Observer, satellite images from this site show a massive expansion of weapon bunkers and other buildings over the past few years.
TASS recently reported that Russia has begun serial production of the Tsirkon missile, although the new weapon is still under testing.
The Tsirkon (3M22) is a scramjet-powered maneuvering anti-ship missile that can reach a speed of Mach 8 (8 times the speed of sound). At first, it will be deployed on surface warships and submarines, but a land-based version is also in development.
The exact range is not known but is by different Russian media sources said to be up to 740 kilometers in a semi-ballistic trajectory.
In these unsettling times, the Barents Observer needs your support more than ever. If you like what we’re doing, please consider making a donation. Your financial contributions, however big or small, will help keep our independent news coming from the north, about the north.
From Norway you can VIPPS: 105792