Zircon is believed to be a maneuvering, winged hypersonic cruise missile with a lift-generating center body. A booster stage with solid-fuel engines accelerates it to supersonic speeds, after which a scramjet motor with liquid-fuel (JP-10 Jet fuel) in the second stage accelerates it to hypersonic speeds.
The missile’s range is estimated to be 135 to 270 nautical miles (155 to 311 mi; 250 to 500 km) at low level, and up to 400 nmi (460 mi; 740 km) in a semi-ballistic trajectory; average range is around 400–450 km (250–280 mi; 220–240 nmi). According to Russian media (2017), the longest possible range is 540 nmi (620 mi; 1,000 km) and for this purpose a new fuel was created. In the 2020 test, Ministry of Defense of the Russia claimed the missile’s range is estimated to 1,000 – 2,000 km (depend on the type of target)
Zircon can travel at a speed of Mach 8–Mach 9 (6,090–6,851 mph; 9,800–11,025 km/h; 2,722.3–3,062.6 m/s). This has led to concerns that it could penetrate existing naval defense systems. Zircon exchanges information in flight and can be controlled by commands if necessary.
Zircon will be first deployed with the Kirov-class battlecruisers Admiral Nakhimov and Pyotr Velikiy after 2020. The ships will have their P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles replaced with the 3S14 universal VLS cells capable of carrying the Oniks, Kalibr and Zircon anti-ship cruise missiles; each vessel is to be equipped with 72 such missiles. After completion of their refit, the ships could carry 40–80 anti-ship cruise missiles of different types. Other platforms are likely to include Russian Navy’s Admiral Grigorovich class and Admiral Gorshkov class frigates, as well as Gremyashchiy class, Buyan class and Karakurt class corvettes, mainly due to the installation of the compatible 3S14 vertical launchers.
Andrei Martyanov: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2020/10/about-zircon-again.html
There is no technological solution for stopping this type of weapons in the US currently. Ramifications are colossal: generally, it will be slow arduous reshaping of surface fleets towards smaller (frigate size) strike platforms. For Russian Navy, Zircon unties hands in terms of Sea Control not only in littoral and Green Water zones but, upon necessity, in the remote or ocean zone, allowing to guard surface strike groups against any attempts of US Navy to bring to bear its CBGs’ fire power. Thus aircraft carriers are finally removed to the niche where they belong–primarily a power projection tool against unstable entities. Obviously a gigantic expenditure of building and maintaining any US Navy’s CBG raises the serious question about a validity of the approach of having roughly $20 billion worth of hardware (CVN+escort ships+air wing) being commensurate with a rather very limited tasks this insanely expensive force can perform under present conditions. It is too expensive to bomb some shithole of a country somewhere, but attacking Russia? What a wonderful collection of expensive, prestigious targets.