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MOSCOW, Russia: Russia has successfully test-fired a hypersonic missile launched for the first time from a nuclear submarine, its defense ministry announced earlier this week.

A Severodvinsk submarine conducted two test launches of the Zircon cruise missile at mock targets in the Barents Sea, with the first being launched from the surface and the second from a submerged position in the White Sea, the ministry added.

The launch marked Zircon’s first deployment from a submarine, after being previously test-fired from a naval frigate, most recently in July.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that the Zircon can travel at nine times the speed of sound and has a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), stressing its deployment will significantly enhance Russia’s military capability.

After tests are completed later this year, Zircon will be commissioned by the Navy in 2022, officials noted.

Zircon, one of several Russian hypersonic missiles under development, was designed to be deployed on cruisers, frigates and submarines.

The Kremlin has prioritized the modernization of the Russian military, due to tensions with the West following the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula by Russian forces in 2014.