About Tsirkon (Zircon) missile
- The 3M22 Zircon (NATO reporting name: SS-N-33) is a scramjet-powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile developed in Russia.
- The Zircon missile is strategically valuable due primarily to its speed.
- It has been reported that the missile can reach a speed upto Mach 8, which would make it the fastest in the world, making it nearly impossible to defend against due to its speed alone.
- Another valuable aspect of the missile is its plasma cloud (plasma is considered the fourth state consisting of ionized gas).
- During flight, the missile is completely covered by a plasma cloud that absorbs any rays of radio frequencies and makes the missile invisible to radars.
Why in News?
The Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missiles, which can be deployed on surface ships are in their final phase of testing.
What are the Mach speeds?
- The ratio of the speed of the aircraft to the speed of sound in the gas is called the Mach number in honor of Ernst Mach, a late 19th century physicist who studied gas dynamics.
- Thus, a plane traveling at the speed of sound is traveling at Mach 1 or about 1225 kmph.
- Mach 2 is twice the speed of sound and so on.