Russia has for the first time test-fired a P-800 Onyx supersonic anti-ship cruise missile during a military exercise amid escalating tensions with Israel following the downing of a Russian warplane in Syria.
A video by the Russian Navy showed multiple launches of the missile from the K-300P Bastion-P, a mobile coastal missile defense system that has been deployed to the Kotelny Island in the Arctic.
After firing, the cruise missile glided above the sea towards a mock target designed to simulate a group of hostile ships in the Laptev Sea.
The missile can travel at a speed of up to 3,180 kilometers per hour (km/h) and engage targets at a range of up to 300 kilometers with a high-low trajectory or 120 kilometers with a low-low flight trajectory.
Although the supersonic missile has been designed to target ships, it can be used against ground targets as well.
Speaking on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet told the Interfax news agency, “Rocket fire will be launched at a remote target simulating a group of enemy surface ships.”
The fresh test-firing comes in the wake of a rift between Moscow and Tel Aviv over the recent accidental downing of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft by Syrian air defenses while they were responding to a wave of Israeli airstrikes.
The Russian plane with 15 servicemen on board disappeared from radars on September 17 as four Israeli F-16 warplanes were attacking state institutions in Syria’s Latakia Province, which is home to Russia-run Hmeimim airbase.