But again, what can I do under present circumstances, so it goes: no shit, geniuses. Get a load of this:
There is a strong empirical evidence that "intel community" was not really intelling anything since once Russians....ah, let me quote myself, because this is becoming tiresome commenting on "surprised experts" all the time:
USSR/Russia were in business of over-the-horizon targeting and shooting for a long, very long time. Since 1960s, and most important Soviet anti-shipping missiles had combat ranges in hundreds of kilometers since then. Those who read my latest book know--I concentrate on this issue--how important it is to know coordinates of a target and the rate of their obsolescence for developing a firing solution (or a flight plan, if one wishes) for a salvo of missiles. For that, in 1970s USSR created MKRC Legenda, which, for some of its shortcomings did provide good recon and targeting on which a number over-the-horizon launches were executed with excellent precision.
1. Tau (at Mach=9) for Zircon = 4 minutes (for Kinzhal at M=11-12 will be around 3);
2. For target, say high speed carrier or DDG--30 knots, this is 30/6=5 cables per minute.
3. Thus, the circle (pay attention--this is if we don't know target's course, if we do--the circle will become a sector) will have a radius:
R=5 x 4=20 cables or 2 nautical miles, or roughly 4 kilometers.
We know for sure (based on data on high selection-high ECM resistant radar seekers of such weapons as P-800 Onyx) that the minimal range of both radio and optronic seekers on either Kinzhal or Zircon is at least +-45 degrees angular coverage and range is at least 40 kilometers. So, even if we shoot a single Zircon at the latest known position of target with Tau of 4 minutes, the range and width of coverage allow to find the target even if it has the speed of 60 and even 80 knots. In reality the width of the front will be:
W=R*2sin45=40 (км) *2*0,707=40*1,414=56.56
or roughly 57 kilometers.
So, even in this primitive scenario, for the target (the ship) to be able to escape beyond the width of the frontal coverage of Zircon (or Kinzhal) it will have to have the speed of 57 kilometers / 4 minutes = 14 + kilometers per minute or 870 kilometers per hour which also happens to be the average speed of a commercial jet such as A-320 or B-757. Obviously there are no known surface ships which are capable to do so. I doubt there ever will be, but, as you already all know in a missile exchange you launch a salvo of 2-4-6 etc. missiles whose task is to provide a leaker, or a missile which will break through air defense.
So, you see. Once we omit here a rather complex issue of a resolution of uncertainties, sensor fusion and probabilities, as well as the issue of a Zircon's systems working properly (INS, updates, seekers, propulsion etc.) we arrive to a rather obvious conclusion that those who view targeting as a requirement to "pointing" target's position with the accuracy of 1 inch, they better update themselves on a modern missile tech, like since 1970s, when rules of missiles' launch were all about delivering missile to the range of detection by the missile's seeker (they vary from purely TV, to more complex optronics to radar to other things, wink, wink) and then... Well, some Soviet vessels and ships, such as hapless Musson (Monsoon) where my classmate lost his legs, learned it the hard way what happens when seeker captures the wrong target. Things changed dramatically since then, and what I wrote here is merely to underscore, yet again, how backward and badly educated those "experts" are if they think that receiving the targeting and hitting the target 500 kilometers away is such a big deal. Not for Russians--they did it for decades and decades.
Read my lips: this is not a bravado, this is not an arrogance but the fact is that Soviet Navy was built around this concept--massive missile salvos at the maximum ranges which grew from 40-60 kilometers for venerable P-15 Styx to underwater start of the 600 kilometers-capable P-700 Granit and now 1000+ kilometer ranges. Russians have been at this longer than anyone else, simple as that. Good ol' MKRZ Legenda provided accurate targeting for Soviet Navy... even at the Royal Navy's assets during Falkland War. South Atlantic, guys, no less. Why they remain "surprised" dumbfounds me completely. Soviet/Russian anti-shipping missile developments has been documented extremely well and since 1990s Russians never made a secret out of it. In fact, they warned non-stop for the last three decades that hyper-sonic weapons and their enablers are in works and they are coming. Well, they came--now live with them. And don't tell anyone that you haven't been warned.
In related news. It seems that CIA Director Burns spoke to Putin while visiting Moscow, and since the visit was requested by the American side, there is very little doubt that Burns had a message to Putin from Biden (or whoever is controlling Biden). Dems need something from Russia. They know their hold on power is tenuous now (not that GOP is much better, only marginally) and some arrangements are needed and, possibly, related to China.