Surface Forces: Indonesian Carrier Killer Comes Out Of Hiding

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April 29, 2011: Indonesia recently test fired a Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missile, launching it from one of its Van Speijk class frigates. Four years ago, Indonesia bough an undisclosed number of Yakhont missiles from Russia, but since then, nothing was heard about what was done with them. At the time, Indonesia said it wanted to use the Yakhonts to replace its U.S. Harpoon missiles. Both missiles cost about the same ($1.2 million each).

Yakhont (also known as Oniks, P-800 or 3M55) is a 8.9 meter (27.6 foot) long, three ton missile with a 300 kg (660 pound) warhead. Early ship launched versions had a range of 120 kilometers, but the Indonesians apparently have a more recent model, which has a range similar to the Harpoon. The big advantage of the Yakhont is its high speed (about 2,500 kilometers an hour). This makes it more difficult to defend against.

The 546 kg (1,200 pound) Harpoon is 4.6 meters (15 feet) long, has a 222 kg (487 pound) warhead and a range of 220 kilometers. It approaches the target low, at about 860 kilometers an hour. GPS gets the missile to the general vicinity of the target, then radar takes over to identify and hit the target. The Harpoon has successful combat experience going back two decades. Most corvettes and many frigates are small enough to be destroyed by one Harpoon. Yakhont does more damage because of the high speed, and greater weight. Yakhont was originally deployed as a "carrier killer".

 


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