Hypersonic missile in Russia’s first test leaves target in flames

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Zircon is designed to hit a target up to 1,500km away

The first Hypersonic Weapon of the Russian Federation has hit a target 500km (310 miles) away, Russia’s military has said.

The missile entered space and reached its final target, described by the Russian ministry as a target “in the centre of Russia”, in Russia’s archipelago of Primorsk, before being destroyed.

Russia also said the second part of the testing had ended successfully.

Israel’s military said the test might have overshot its mark.

Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov said a 400-metre-long Zircon missile hit its target using conventional explosive, the state-run TASS news agency reported.

But the Israeli military said the test apparently failed to deliver on its promise.

The Israeli defence ministry tweeted from its official account that the Zircon fell short of its target by 13km. It also said there had been no debris released from the missile.

The ministry also said that a second part of the trial should have been conducted to show there is no threat from the Zircon to Israel.

Earlier reports had suggested the testing of the Hypersonic Weapon would end in a failed launch.

On 7 June, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov said the programme had entered the final phase.

He said the test was a part of US-Russian arms control talks on nuclear and space weapons.

It comes as Russia is in the throes of its Zapad 2018 military exercise , the largest such manoeuvres since the Cold War, which is seen as a warning to Russia’s neighbours and the US .

The UK said the next Zapad exercise would be held in 2023

Additional reporting by Sergey Levichev, Natasha Trivedi, Yannis Behrakis, Ffion Sullivan, Anna Berejuhniapoullis, Paul Solomons, Christian Lowe, Anna Chipova and BBC’s Damian Rose

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