Surface Forces: October 27, 1999

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Russia's Yakhont anti-ship missile can be carried by ships, submarines, or shore batteries. It has a range of up to 300km, and flies at supersonic speeds (Mach-2+) at altitudes up to 30,000 feet. The missile flies by inertial guidance to a designated point, then turns on its radar to find a target warship in the designated target area. Having spotted an acceptable ship, the missile switches off its radar and descends to an altitude as low as 5 meters from the surface of the ocean and approaches the target at supersonic speed. Once it reaches the radar horizon of the target, it switches its radar back on, then homes in for the kill. Because of its high speed, short-range air defense systems have difficulty dealing with the missile. The missile weighs 4,000kg and carries a 200kg penetrating warhead. A new air-launched version is being designed and will weigh only 2,250kg.--Stephen V Cole

 


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