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Surface Forces: Secret Defenses Against Carrier Killers
   Next Article → ARMOR: M-1 Replacement A Lightweight
April 10, 2008: Once more, the U.S. Navy is being criticized for failing to come up  with a defense against high speed Chinese anti-ship missiles. In particular, there is fear that the  Russian  3M54 (also known as the SS-N-27, Sizzler or Klub) anti-ship missiles used on Chinese subs, are unstoppable.

 

At the same time, India, (another major customer for the Klub)  is feuding with the Russians over repeated failures of the Klub during six test firings last Fall.  The missiles were fired off the  Russian coast, using an Indian Kilo class submarines, INS Sindhuvijay. That boat went to Russia in 2006 for upgrades. Now India refuses to pay for the upgrades, or take back the sub, until Russia fixes the problems with the missiles.

 

Weighing two tons, and fired from a 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tube on a Kilo class sub, the 3M54 has a 440 pound warhead. The anti-ship version has a range of 300 kilometers, but speeds up to 3,000 kilometers an hour during its last minute or so of flight. There is also an air launched and ship launched version. A land attack version does away with the high speed final approach feature, and has an 880 pound warhead. What makes the 3M54  particularly dangerous is its final approach, which begins when the missile is about 15 kilometers from its target. Up to that point, the missile travels at an altitude of about a hundred feet. This makes the missile more difficult to detect. The high speed approach means that it covers that last fifteen kilometers in less than twenty seconds. This makes it difficult for current anti-missile weapons to take it down.

 

The 3M54 is similar to earlier, Cold War era Russian anti-ship missiles, like the 3M80 ("Sunburn"), which has a larger warhead (660 pounds) and shorter range (120 kilometers.) The 3M80 was still in development at the end of the Cold War, and was finally put into service about a decade ago. Even older is the P700 ("Shipwreck"), with a 550 kilometers range and 1,650 pound warhead. This missile entered service in the 1980s.

 

These missiles are considered "carrier killers," but it's not known how many of them would have to hit a carrier to knock it out of action, much less sink it. Moreover, Russian missiles have little combat experience, and a reputation for erratic performance. Quality control was never a Soviet strength, but the Russians are getting better, at least in the civilian sector. The military manufacturers appear to have been slower to adapt.

 

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy refuses to discuss, in public, a lot about its defensive measure against missiles like the Klub. It is known that, two years ago, after six years of effort, the U.S. Navy put its high-speed anti-ship missile simulator into production. The GQM-163A Coyote SSST (Supersonic Sea-Skimming Target) is a 31 foot long missile with a combination solid fuel rocket and ramjet propulsion. It has a range of 110 kilometers and, because of the ramjet,  a top speed of over 2,600 kilometers an hour. That's twice as fast as the Klub. The Coyote is meant to give U.S. warships a realistic simulation of an attack by similar Russian cruise missiles (like the Klub.) By next year, 39 GQM-163As will have been built, at a cost of $515,000 each. The GQM-163A is the first U.S. missile to successfully use ramjet engines, and this technology can be now used in other missiles.

 

It is feared that the navy has no defense against missile like Klub. Or, it may have developed defenses, but does not want to let potential enemies know how those defenses work (lest the enemy develop ways to get around those defenses.)

 

 

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Herald12345    Who writes this GARBAGE?   4/10/2008 6:03:26 AM
What UTTER CRAP!

The GQM-163A is the first U.S. missile to successfully use ramjet engines, and this technology can be now used in other missiles. 

Ever hear of this missile, rube?

Bendix RIM-8 TALOS-also known in its drone configuration as VANDAL.

Sheesh!

Herald
 
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doggtag    You're not used to that yet, Herald?   4/10/2008 7:05:58 AM
Never underestimate the, to put it politely, "inaccuracies"
of front page articles.
 
With a little luck, maybe someone with the SP keys will sneak in an adjust the article accordingly (same as I went thru over on that Cheetah article...).
 
(I suppose they've never heard of the D-21 drone here, either, or even the BOMARC?)
 
Not trying to attack SP's front pages' writers' credibility,
but sometimes I find myself wondering if Mr H and Mr D intentionally OK these, ahem, "minor errors",
just to liven things up a bit...?
 
(...and it does certainly give us a bit of comic relief from time to time!)
 
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kensohaski       4/10/2008 7:24:19 AM
The best defense against these things is to sink/shoot down the conveyors of these missles.  I am sure that the USN has plenty in the works as in layered defense ect....  There are those here that know more about that.
 
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Herald12345    Doggtag reoply.   4/10/2008 7:31:00 AM
I really wonder if I can trust the articles and opinions I see frontpage here about stuff about which I know little, like infantry weapons, or Army aviation, if the stuff I read about of which I do know a bit: rockets, missiles, and electronic warfare is treated with such inaccuracy and plain outright malarkey.

Now if the author just said the Coyote is the first US target drone to mimic a Russian rocket-augmented ramjet powered  Mach 3+ SEASKIMMER missile like the KLUB cum Sizzler , then he would have been  "partially" correct. I believe that the cretin Clinton Administration  forced the USN to buy KH-31s and turn those into MA-31 target drones, when the Vandals ran short. Nice of the Clinton Administration and Boeing to teach the Russians what they did wrong with the KH-31 by the way. We know NOW that at least ONE Russian missile will work as intended.[SARCASM directed at Boeing and the Clinton Administration]


Herald
 
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Softwar       4/10/2008 9:01:36 AM

I really wonder if I can trust the articles and opinions I see frontpage here about stuff about which I know little, like infantry weapons, or Army aviation, if the stuff I read about of which I do know a bit: rockets, missiles, and electronic warfare is treated with such inaccuracy and plain outright malarkey.

Now if the author just said the Coyote is the first US target drone to mimic a Russian rocket-augmented ramjet powered  Mach 3+ SEASKIMMER missile like the KLUB cum Sizzler , then he would have been  "partially" correct. I believe that the cretin Clinton Administration  forced the USN to buy KH-31s and turn those into MA-31 target drones, when the Vandals ran short. Nice of the Clinton Administration and Boeing to teach the Russians what they did wrong with the KH-31 by the way. We know NOW that at least ONE Russian missile will work as intended.[SARCASM directed at Boeing and the Clinton Administration]


Herald
http://www.softwar.net/QF4.GIF">
US Navy F-4 firing Russian Krypton

  Details of the Sunburn missile and its capabilities were uncovered during the Clinton administration by a U.S. Navy program code-named ?Ballerina?.  Ballerina used American business contacts inside Moscow to obtain Sunburn missiles directly from the Russian Navy for use as target drones.

A 1995 status report prepared for the Navy, states that U.S.  defense contractor Vector Microwave had ?reached a basic agreement with the Russian manufacturer of the SS-N-22 (Arsenjev Aviation Company ?Progress?) on the concept of acquiring the SS-N-22 missiles as targets.?

The 1995 purchase offer included 100 conventional Sunburn missiles drawn directly from the Russian Navy inventory and an option to purchase the entire remaining Russian inventory.  The Russian deal also included conventional ?active and dummy warheads? and all of the critical electronics on the weapon such as the ?radar seeker?, navigation computer and the ?radio altimeter?.

The extra-ordinary proposed sale of missiles from the Russian Navy inventory would have given the U.S. Navy critical information to evaluate electronic and other soft counter-measures to deal with any future Sunburn threat.

However, the Russian offer to sell all of its Sunburn missiles to the U.S. Navy was simply too much for Washington to believe.

The July 1995 status report written by Vector Microwave noted that the Russians had agreed to the Sunburn sale and that a ?letter of ?bona fides? from the U.S. government would be necessary? in order to enter into formal negotiations.
The status report noted that a major incentive for the sale was money.  Russian missile maker Arsenjev was so hard pressed for cash that it had to make ?titanium golf clubs? for sale in South Korea.  The 1995 report also warned ?the Russians felt that strict confidentiality of such an acquisition program should be maintained.?

In September 1995, U.S. Navy Principal Deputy Vice Admiral W.C.  Bowes sent a letter to Admiral Felix Gromov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy.  Bowes advised the Russian Navy that America intended to purchase Sunburn supersonic cruise missiles.

?I appreciate the opportunity to convey to you the United States Navy?s interest in acquiring all variants of the SS-N-22 ?Sunburn? Anti-Ship Supersonic Ship-to-ship missile for test and evaluation,? wrote U.S. Admiral Bowes to Gromov in a September 1995 letter.

Amazingly, the Clinton administration turned down the Russian Sunburn offer.  The Defense Department run by then Secretary William Perry balked at the Sunburn price of nearly ?a million dollars? per missile.

Without the 1995 U.S. Navy sale, the hard-pressed Russians cut a deal twelve months later with Beijing, agreeing to supply an active inventory of Sunburn missiles to China.
 
The failure to acquire the Sunburn did not end the U.S. Navy attempts to purchase advanced Russian missiles for testing.  The Clinton administration arranged for the Navy to purchase a limited number of super-sonic Kh-31 NATO, code-name Krypton, missiles.

The air launched Krypton is an anti-radiation missile, designed to attack U.S. made radar systems such as Patriot and Aegis.  In 1977 the ?Zvezda? group under the direction of V. Bugayskiy began working on the Kh-31 missile also known as the Article 77P.  The first launchings of this missile took place in 1982.

The Kh-31 powered by a dual propulsion system designed
 
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doggtag    (Softwar's second image right there...)   4/10/2008 10:14:35 AM
Somewhere at home I have a 1970's era book about rockets and missiles,
and there is a prototype of something that's the spittin' image of that second MA-31 pic.
 
For the life of me, I can't recall it right now,
but I'm thinking Italian system, maybe even French (sorry, Herald!), circa mid 70's.
Will get back to y'all later this eve (don't even a book that old has an ISBN...).
 
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kianator    Targetting....   4/10/2008 10:46:14 AM

remember, they have to find some way of targetting a carrier.  with  ecm's growing ever sophisticated, one sunburn will lock on to 1 of  50 carrier sized targets

 
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eldnah       4/10/2008 10:47:28 AM
Am I to understand that the "Foreign Corrupt Practices Act" forbids us from using bribes to obtain military intelligence and or enemy combant systems? Has the government gone that crazy? 
 
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Softwar    SA-6 Gainful an early cousin?   4/10/2008 10:57:00 AM
I always felt that the Kh-31 had some relation to the SA-6 Gainful (3M9 missile).  The construction of the ram systems are very similar.  The 3M9 did appear in the late 1960s after a period of about 10 years in development. 
 
However, the two teams that designed the missiles are seperate.  There is also a major difference in the ramjet propulsion systems in that the 3M9 is a solid booster with a solid core fuel sustainer.  The Kh-31 has a solid booster that gives way to a liquid sustainer.
 
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Softwar    FCPA - There Is a Nat Security Over-ride   4/10/2008 11:01:52 AM

Am I to understand that the "Foreign Corrupt Practices Act" forbids us from using bribes to obtain military intelligence and or enemy combant systems? Has the government gone that crazy? 


No - its my impression that the FCPA can be over-ridden for national security reasons (e.g. bribe a General or a Chairman).  Thus, the reason why Boeing was given a pass to spread the $$ over eager Russian hands.
The FCPA does prohibit companies from giving bribes.  However, some of our competitors (e.g. French) have offered "incentive money" inside their contracts for officials in foreign governments.  That is an exact quote in reference to French money paid to secure space contracts for satellite systems and launch services.
 
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