Surface Forces: October 4, 2000

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RUSSIANS MARKET ANTI-SHIP MISSILES: Seeking money from export sales, the Russians are exporting any weapons they can find a market for, and one of their better markets is in anti-ship missiles. India, Algeria, and Vietnam have purchased the Uran-E missile, the export version of the Kh-35 "Harpoonski", also known as the SSN-25 Switchblade. The missile itself is known as the 3M24; the export version is the 3M24E. It is a subsonic turbojet missile with a range of 130km and a high explosive 145kg warhead. It cruises at an altitude of 10-15m and makes its terminal approach at 3-5 meters above the water. It has a J-band ARGS-35 active radar seeker. The Uran is made by the Zvesda group, which is plowing its export profits into new variants of Uran. The 3M24M1 has a GPS receiver and a range of 250km. Another new variant of Uran would use a passive infrared seeker. India became the launch customer for another new Russian turbojet anti-ship missile export. The Novator group developed its Soviet-era SSN21 Granat "Sampson" nuclear missile into the SSN27 Klub and markets it as the Alfa family of weapons. The missile itself is designated 3M54. The original Alfa can travel 200km at subsonic speed, then detaches its radar-homing 200kg warhead for a 20km mach-3 dash to the target. This version of Alfa never found an export customer. A new version of Alfa, sold to India in 1999, is the 3M54E1. This subsonic turbojet missile travels 300km and carries a 400kg warhead. India plans to fire these missiles from its Kilo-class submarines via their 533mm torpedo tubes. The new Project 1135.6 frigates (being built in Russia for the Indian Navy) will carry 3M54E1s in vertical launchers. A third new export anti-ship missile is the SSN-26 Yakhont. This has been under development for years at NPO Mashinostroyenia. (Development has been delayed by lack of funds.) The Yakhont uses a liquid-fuel ramjet and travels 300km at Mach-2+ (using a high altitude cruise and a low-altitude approach; if it travels entirely at low altitude the range is cut to 120km). Terminal approach is at 3-5m using an active radar seeker. The most feared Russian export anti-ship missile is the 3M80 Moskit, known in the West as the SSN-22 Sunburn. It has been sold to China along with new Sovremenny-class destroyers. (The first destroyer was delivered early this year, and the second will arrive before year's end. Two more ships will be ordered shortly. These ships and their missiles are the first Chinese warships to pose any threat to the US Navy.) Moskit uses a solid rocket booster and then cruises on a ramjet. The maximum range is 120km (depending on the height of the cruise portion of the flight); a new version of Moskit will reach 150km. The warhead seeker is multi-mode, having active radar, anti-radiation, and home-on-jam mode. Moskit approaches the target at a height of 20m, but executes as S-turn pulling 15g's to evade interception. The missile has a 300kg penetrating warhead carrying 150kg of high explosive. Export profits for Raduga (the company that makes Moskit) have been used to design new versions of the missile, one of which has a range of 200km.--Stephen V Cole

 


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