A Russian frigate carrying ‘unstoppable’ Mach 9 nuclear-capable hypersonic cruise missiles has deviated from its course and is sailing towards the US coast, reports have claimed.
The Admiral Gorshkov, armed with Zircon missiles which Vladimir Putin boasts has ‘no equivalent in the world’, is being closely monitored by NATO navies during its maiden voyage.
Earlier this month, the frigate was escorted through British waters by the Royal Navy, and French and Spanish ships then escorted it through the Atlantic.
It was scheduled to head south past South Africa to the Indian Ocean then enter the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal.
A Russian frigate carrying ‘unstoppable’ Mach 9 nuclear-capable hypersonic cruise missiles has deviated from its course
But monitoring sites claim it took a sudden diversion and headed west towards Bermuda.
An unconfirmed Russian Telegram channel report says the warship was ‘spotted on radar in neutral waters of the Atlantic Ocean – at an effective salvo launch distance from the US coast’.
The Russian defence ministry has not commented on the Navodka channel claim.
Radar monitoring sites suggest the Gorshkov separated from its tailing tanker ship Kama in the Bay of Biscay and headed west.
The Kama has continued its routing to the south, passing the Azores.
The frigate carrying the Mach 9 missiles had been tracked 807 miles west of the Portuguese island of Flores in the Azores, suggested ItaMilRadar.
Russia’s Admiral Gorshkov is pictured during a test launch of its Zircon missiles in the Barents Sea
Monitoring sites claim it took a sudden diversion and headed west towards Bermuda
Pictured: Launch of an ‘unstoppable’ Zircon nuclear-capable hypersonic missile from the Admiral Gorshkov
Pictured: The Russian frigate ‘Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov’ armed with Zircon hypersonic weapons leaves the naval base in Severomorsk, January 4, 2023
If so, at this distance it would not at this point be in range of the US for its deadly Zircons.
The frigate is also carrying Kalibr missiles, a type used in Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
Putin personally took part – remotely – in the farewell ceremony when the warship departed from Arctic naval base Severomorsk on 4 January.
He made clear this mission was intended as a show of strength to the West.
He boasted that NATO could not match his ‘latest-generation’ hypersonic firepower.
He said: ‘I am sure that such a powerful weapon will allow us to reliably protect Russia from potential external threats and help ensure our country’s national interests.’
The cutting-edge frigate Gorshkov is due to sail to the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean on this mission.
Next month it will take part in exercises with the Chinese and South African navies near the ports of Durban and Richards Bay.
It is not clear why the frigate would head towards the US.
Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Portland monitored the Russian warship and accompanying tanker Kama as they sailed close to the UK.
Earlier the Norwegian navy paid close attention to Putin’s hypersonic mission.
Moscow has boasted that the Gorshkov is ‘the most dangerous enemy of surface ships in the world’s oceans’ now it is armed with the new hypersonic missile.
The frigate’s captain Igor Krokhmal has said previously: ‘No one will see the missile launch or its flight.
‘They will only see when the missile hits the target.
‘A surface target, a coastal target. I don’t think there will be anything to counter this in the next few years.’