Russia has reportedly developed an anti-ship cruise missile capable of travelling at between five and six times the speed of sound - 3,800 mph to 4,600mph.
According to Mirror report, this “unstoppable” hypersonic missile, called Zircon, is capable of destroying the Royal Navy’s most sophisticated warships in a single strike.
Powered by a “scramjet” - an air-breathing jet engine, the Zircon missile is believed to have a range of up to 500 miles and can be fitted with a series of warheads from high explosive to nuclear, the report says.
Some military experts believe that hypersonic missiles could make massive aircraft carriers redundant.
The Zircon is so fast that it can out run the Royal Navy’s Sea Ceptor which is designed to shoot down missiles travelling at 2,300 mph, much slower than the estimated speed of a Zircon.
One senior Naval source told the UK daily: “Hypersonic missiles are virtually unstoppable. The whole idea of the carrier is the ability to project power.But with no method of protecting themselves against missiles like the Zircon the carrier would have to stay out of range, hundreds of miles out at sea”.
"It’s planes would be useless and the whole basis of a carrier task force would be redundant,” source added.