Earlier this month, Russian state-owned news agency TASS quoted a source close to Russia’s defense industry saying the Admiral Gorshkov frigate “will perform a training launch of a Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic missile during a joint exercise with South African and Chinese navies.”
The joint maritime exercise is expected to include some 350 South African National Defense Force personnel participating alongside their Russian and Chinese counterparts, according to South Africa. An earlier exercise between the three navies took place in 2019.
The long-range weapons travel more than five times the speed of sound and are harder to detect and intercept.
The frigate was actively involved in testing the missiles, designed and produced by the Research and Production Association of Machine-Building, part of Russia’s Tactical Missiles Corporation, according to Tass.