Sunday, December 5, 2010

SS-N-3, SS-N-22, Next Generation SS-N-27 Anti Ship Weapons Missile

Russia, the heart of the former Soviet Union, has produced a great many cruise missiles, both in types and quantities over the years, from the 1960s-vintage SS-N-3 Styx, through the latest supersonic SS-N-22 and SS-N-27 anti-ship weapons. While Russia is no longer considered an adversary, its continued development and export of these highly-advanced weapon systems to potential or outright hostile states is worrisome. Indeed, Russia not only continues to develop cruise missiles, but its ASCMs are designed specifically to defeat U.S. naval air defenses.

SS-N-22 Sunburn

Worse, Russian-supplied weapons are routinely re-exported from the country of initial sale. For instance, Ukraine recently admitted that it sold up to a dozen copies of the ultra-long-range, thermonuclear-warhead-capable AS-15 Kent to both Iran and China.

Cooperative development of such weapons as the joint Russian-Indian BrahMos supersonic antiship missile, which has a range of 175 miles and can be launched from a variety of land and sea-based platforms, also creates a source of concern, as both states intend to export it.53 Continued work to improve the Russian arsenal will result in the availability of ever more sophisticated weapons on the international market.

Russian SS-N-27 'Club' Cruise Missile Next Generation

Iran possesses a variety of Chinese-made cruise missiles, from the widely-proliferated Silkworms and Seersuckers to the more advanced Chinese-made Saccade-type weapons. Most ominously, Iran has acquired some of the same Russian-made AS-15 Kent thermonuclear-warhead-capable strategic cruise missiles that were illegally exported by the Ukrainian government to China. Since both China and Iran are
known reverse-engineering weapon proliferators, this is a strategically significant development. Iran has developed an air-launched version of the C-802 anti-ship cruise missile with Chinese help. Iran also has received copies of the highly-capable Russian-made SS-N-22 Sunburn supersonic anti-ship missile.

In addition to the ASCMs mentioned above, the Military Balance 2006 reports that the Iranians have an indigenous product line for Noor, Kowsar/Kowsar-1 and Ra’d anti-ship cruise missiles, which would complement the aforementioned inventory of Chinese-made missiles. Earlier in 2006, during war games in the Persian Gulf, the Iranians reportedly tested the Kowsar, which is “a land-to-sea missile designed to skim
the surface of the water” that can avoid radar. Finally, the Military Balance 2006 calls attention to a dedicated cruise missile group working within the Iranian Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO).


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