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Surface Forces: Yakhont And Son Will Do It Fast
   Next Article → INFORMATION WARFARE: Chasing The Night Dragon
March 8, 2011: Russia has agreed, despite strenuous Israeli objections, to sell Syria the SSN-26 Yakhont anti-ship missile. This missile was under development throughout the 1990s, but was delayed by lack of funds. Now it's in production, and the Russians are seeking export sales. The Yakhont uses a liquid-fuel ramjet and travels 300 kilometers at speeds of over 2,000 kilometers an hour (using a high altitude cruise and a low-altitude approach; if it travels entirely at low altitude the range is cut to 120km). When the missile arrives in the area where the target is supposed to be, it turns on its radar and goes for the kill. Israel is the only one in the region the Yakhonts would be used against. However, because Iran is supplying (unofficially) the cash for the missiles, there is also the risk that some of the Yakhonts would end up in Iran.

The ground based Yakhont can use truck mounted or fixed launchers, with up to 36 missiles supported by a land based search radar and helicopter mounted radars (to locate targets over the horizon). Once a target has been identified and located, one or two missiles are programmed with that location and launched. The Yakhont is a 8.9 meter (27.6 foot) long, three ton missile with a 300 kg (660 pound) warhead.

An improved version of the Yakhont, the PJ-10 BrahMos missile, was developed for India. The 9.4 meter (29 foot) long, 670mm diameter missile is an upgraded version of the Yakhont, which was still in development when the Cold War ended in 1991. Lacking money to finish development and begin production, the Russian manufacturer eventually made a deal with India to finish the job. India put up most of the $240 million needed to finally complete two decades of development, an effort which produced the long delayed Yakhont, and more capable BrahMos. The PJ-10 is being built in Russia and India, with the Russians assisting India in setting up manufacturing facilities for cruise missile components. Efforts are being made to export up to 2,000, but no one has placed an order yet. Russia and India are encouraged enough to invest in BrahMos 2, which will use a scramjet, instead of a ramjet, in the second stage. This would double speed, and make the missile much more difficult to defend against.

India ordered nearly a thousand BrahMos missiles. The Indian Army plans to buy 80 launchers in the next ten years. Russia has not yet ordered any BrahMos, while India is also working on lighter versions for use by aircraft and submarines. A submarine launched version is ready for testing, but the navy has not yet been able to spare one of its 13 subs to carry out the test. The sub launched version requires the building of a vertical silo behind the conning tower. The navy is not keen to be tearing apart any of its subs for this. So the BrahMos people are waiting for the next six subs to be bought, and arrange for a BrahMos silo to be built in. The air force version of BrahMos will be ready this year, and two Su-30 aircraft will be made available for tests.

The 3.2 ton BrahMos has a range of 300 kilometers and a 300 kg warhead. Perhaps the most striking characteristic is its high speed, literally faster (at up to a kilometer per second) than a rifle bullet. Guidance is GPS or inertial to reach the general area of the target (usually a ship or other small target), then radar that will identify the specific target and hit it. The weight of the warhead, and the high speed at impact causes additional damage (because of the weight of the entire missile.)

The high price of each missile, about $2.3 million, restricts the number of countries that can afford it. The weapon entered service with the Indian navy in 2005. The maximum speed of 3,000 kilometers an hour makes it harder to intercept, and means it takes five minutes or less to reach its target. The air launched version weighs 2.5 tons, the others, three tons or more.

India indicates it plans to make the missile a major weapon system. The BrahMos can carry a nuclear warhead, but is designed mainly to go after high value targets that require a large warhead and great accuracy. The BrahMos could take out enemy headquarters, or key weapons systems (especially those employing electronic or nuclear weapons.)

Next Article → INFORMATION WARFARE: Chasing The Night Dragon
  

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Mike Pomeroy    What is Persian name for Caspian Sea?   3/8/2011 10:27:32 AM
To the Russian People:

I maybe reading too much into "However, because Iran is supplying (unofficially) the cash for the missiles, there is also the risk that some of the Yakhont's would end up in Iran."(see article)  Iran has two possible conflicts one is over names of bodies of water.  While names Arab Gulf or Persian Gulf might be my worry.  There is another conflict is over the oil and gas beneath the Caspian Sea.  I think it is worth Russian Sailors lives to think through why a land locked country Syria wants anti-ship missiles.

Sincerely Mike Pomeroy
 
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Beckles       3/8/2011 11:03:25 AM

Syria is not land-locked.

 
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Mike Pomeroy    I stand corrected.   3/8/2011 12:32:59 PM
I agree Beckles, Syria has Mediterranean Ports.  My memory of Golan Heights served me wrong.
 
However you have left the question what conflict is Iran spending money on.  Belligerence with Israel to create legitimacy to steal at home, The Ancient Argument with the Arabs of which what is the name of body of water known as Persian Gulf or Arab Gulf is a part.  Or new conflict with Russian over resource beneath the Caspian Sea.
 
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Shirrush    Russia again...   3/8/2011 3:21:58 PM
It is yet unclear to me whether the Yakhont, like the BrahMos, has a land target capability. If it does, this is bad news for us, as it will cost us megabucks to defend against it, so we can forget about healing our crumbling health system and about solving our housing crisis.
One thing that worries me even more is the deep slumber the Israeli polity has fallen into with regards to (fascist) Russia's intentions. Alas, my personal opinion that Russia has proven once again that it is our most consistent enemy is not shared by most of my compatriots, who tend to call me a paranoid prophet-of-doom whenever I remind them of the many acres of Israeli military graveyards that owe their origin to Russia's hostile policies and weaponry.
 
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VelocityVector    Shirrush   3/8/2011 4:45:09 PM

Georgia
Azerbaijan
China
Finland
Turkey

Historical Russian animosity towards Israel is a fact, however, Israeli arms exports to the above nations that are situated along the Russian periphery has undoubtedly antagonized the Russians further.  Had Israel restricted its arms deals to nations outside the Russian zone, i.e., Africa, SE Asia and the Americas, then the degree of hostility the Russians now exhibit towards Israel likely would be significantly less and the two nations might even have cooperated on technical projects of mutual interest.  He who seeks equity must do equity.  0.02

v^2

 
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YelliChink       3/8/2011 5:11:44 PM

Georgia

Azerbaijan

China

Finland

Turkey

v^2


Turkey used to be ally of Israel and still is the very few Muslim nations that don't overtly hostile.
Finns used to get alone with Russia since the end of WW2.
 
China is a competitin market, and so is India. Russia, with or without military tech edge, cannot stop a Chinese invasion without nuclear weapon.
 
Russia sells weapons to Azerbaijian as well. They just sold them 30 Mi-35M.
 
The situation of Georgia is kind of complicated. Georgia is not sworn enemy of Russia, but any Russian leader will meddle Georgia affairs in order to maximize Russian national interests in the Caucasuss. The current Russian policy is to prevent any pipe line to be built through Georgia to Turkey, so that they maintain monopoly of gas and oil supply to Europe via land-based pipeline. Since Saakashvilli was put there by foreign powers, Russia's primary goal in Georgia would be to first lure, and now depose him.
 
The real reason that Russia keep playing double side on Israel is also based on its economic and political interests. By keeping up the tension in the Middle East, they could enjoy heightened oil price, while playing better hands to the US in geopolitics. Israel, after all, is not their pawn.

 
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VelocityVector    Yelli (I can't bring myself to use the 'C' word anymore than the 'N' word)   3/8/2011 6:13:17 PM

The real reason that Russia keep playing double side on Israel is also based on its economic and political interests.

Should not therefore the Russians co-opt Israel by systematically engaging in joint Israeli-Russian projects and bilateral trade to play the Israelis and Arabs against one another?  Arab nations are key competitors of Russia in the petroleum markets, and the Israelis themselves may reap the benefits of their own rich fields of black gold soon.  Russian anti-semitism can only encroach so far against Russia's real self-perceived interests and so one might think that the Russians would actually quiet their overt anti-Israeli behavior and speak out both sides of their mouths if one was to accept your position.  That the Russians do sustain their antagonism against Israel, and even ramp this up, IMO directly correlates to Israeli arms deals with nations on the Russian periphery.  0.02

v^2

 
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DavidE    Correct me if I'm wrong, but   3/8/2011 6:29:07 PM
Haven't Russian arms sales to Israel's Arab enemies been going on
since Israel was founded?  At least since the time of Nasser, and
long before Israel had an arms industry.  I think Russian hostility
to Israel is rooted in their desire to court the Arabs, and while
I'm sure Israel's sales to those countries annoys the Russians,
it wasn't the original issue.
 
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VelocityVector    DavidE   3/8/2011 6:45:50 PM

Agreed it wasn't the original issue.  Jewish migration into slavic Russia is the original issue.  (Russian "arms sales" have been going on since at least the time of Pograms.)  Nonetheless the historical facts do not contravene my contentions above.  Good that we are discussing the matter in any event.  It's pertinent given demand and supply for petroleum.  0.02

v^2 

 
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