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Zircon missiles

3rd April, 2024 Security

Zircon missiles

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  • Ukraine claimed that Russia has fired five Zircon missiles at Kyiv in 2024.

Zircon missile

  • Hypersonic Speed: Zircon is a hypersonic cruise missile that uses scramjet propulsion. Zircon cruise missiles use cooled supersonic combustion ramjet engines, which power combustion by compressing air flowing at supersonic speeds due to the missile’s forward motion.
  • This missile Powered by cooled supersonic combustion ramjet engines, which compress air moving at supersonic speeds due to the missile’s forward motion.
  • Maximum speed Mach 9.
  • Range: It has an estimated operational range of over 1000 kilometers (620 miles), allowing it to strike targets at long distances with high precision.

What Are Hypersonic Missiles?


  • Speed: Mach 9 and a range of 1000 km.
  • It’s a two-stage missile that uses solid fuel in the first stage and a scramjet motor in the second stage.
  • A hypersonic missile is a missile capable of travelling at hypersonic speed, e. between 5 and 25 times the speed of sound.
  • It uses hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology.
  • In 2021, DRDO successfully flight-tested the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), with the capability to travel at 6 times the speed of sound.


  • China-DF-17
  • Air Breathing Engine
  • The Russian-made Avangard.

Air-breathing engines

  • Air-breathing engines use oxygen from the atmosphere in the combustion of fuel.
  • Ramjet:
    • A ramjet is a form of air-breathing jet engine that uses the vehicle’s forward motion to compress incoming air for combustion without a rotating compressor.
    • Ramjets work most efficiently at supersonic speeds but they are not efficient at hypersonic speeds.
  • Scramjet:
    • A scramjet engine is an improvement over the ramjet engine as it efficiently operates at hypersonic speeds and allows supersonic combustion.
  • Dual Mode Ramjet (DMRJ) :
    • A dual mode ramjet (DMRJ) is a type of jet engine where a ramjet transforms into a scramjet over Mach 4-8 range, which means it can efficiently operate both in subsonic and supersonic combustion modes.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/ukraine-says-russia-has-fired-five-zircon-missiles-at-kyiv-in-2024/article68017512.ece


With reference to Zircon Missile, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is a surface-to-surface missile.
  2. It is fuelled by liquid propellant only.
  3. It can deliver one-tonne nuclear warheads about 7500 km away.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

 (a) 1 only
 (b) 2 and 3 only
 (c) None of the above

 (d) All of the above

Answer:- c