* The Soviets, recognizing that they were outclassed by Western naval power, perceived a real need for submarine and ship launched cruise missiles, particularly for antiship attack, and developed a series of impressive weapons with increasingly sophisticated capabilities. This chapter describes Soviet-Russian naval cruise missiles, and also outlines what little is known about Chinese cruise missiles, and cruise missiles developed by other Asian countries.
* Although Chelomei's OKB-51 had been disbanded in the winter of 1953, the death of Josef Stalin in the spring of that year led to a reshuffling of power. Lavrenti Beria was in charge for a short time, but before the end of the year he had been arrested and shot, which no doubt had an impact on the influence of his son Sergei and the MiG missile effort. In any case, Chelomei's advocates were able to resurrect him -- no doubt much to his relief, since failures in Stalin's day were judged equivalent to treason and could mean imprisonment or execution -- and Chelomei's organization was restored under his leadership as "OKB-52".
Chelomei took over a factory in the Moscow area, known to locals as the "drunken factory", suggesting he had some challenges in getting things up to speed. He was successful, coming out on top of a number of other design bureaus working on parallel programs. OKB-52 survives to this day, renamed as "NPO Mashinostroyenia" or "NPO Mash" for short in 1983, to be taken over by Gerberd A. Efremov after Chelomei's death in 1984.
The first major contribution of OKB-52 was a ship-launched missile. The USSR had already developed such a weapon, the "Schuka", later "P-1 KSShch", with the NATO codename "SS-N-1 Scrubber". Incidentally, "Scrubber" in British usage roughly equates to the US term "bimbo". It was deployed on a handful of destroyers. Details are unclear, but speed was high subsonic and range was about 80 kilometers (50 miles). It was a dismal failure and it is likely the lack of information on the type is partly due to the type's insignificance; nobody wants to dwell on failures. OKB-52 was assigned to take another shot at the concept, and proved much more successful.
The effort was designated "Project 5 (P-5)" and focused on development of a cruise missile for launch from submarines against ground targets. Initial flight tests of the 4K95 missile for the P-5 system were in 1957 and it was accepted for service in June 1959 on board modified WHISKEY-class diesel submarines. NATO assigned the P-5 the codename of "SS-N-3A Shaddock". The WHISKEY launchers included a prototype conversion along the lines of the US Navy Regulus launcher submarines, carrying a single P-5 in deck cylinder and codenamed WHISKEY SINGLE CYLINDER; five configured to carry two P-5s, codenamed WHISKEY TWIN CYLINDER; and six configured to carry four P-5s, codenamed WHISKEY LONG BIN.
OKB-52's P-5 was a clean design with a pencil-like fuselage; swept wings and tail surfaces that folded for storage in its launch container; a turbojet engine fed by a split engine intake under the belly; and twin RATO boosters for launch. It had a range of 500 kilometers (310 miles) and an autonomous inertial navigation system (INS) for guidance. Given the limited accuracy of guidance systems at the time, presumably the P-5 was generally or always armed with a nuclear warhead. An improved variant, the "P-5D", with an additional Doppler radar navigation unit, was introduced to service in 1962 and was carried by ECHO I class nuclear submarines. Five ECHO Is were built, but the Red Navy soon got out of the strategic nuclear cruise missile business, and they were all converted to a pure attack configuration later in the 1960s. The P-5D was also produced as a surface-to-surface weapon for tactical use, receiving the NATO codename of "SSC-1A Shaddock".
Even as the land-attack P-5 was being put into service, OKB-52 was working on two antiship attack variants for dealing with Western aircraft carrier task forces: the "P-35" (NATO codename "SS-N-3B Sepal") for launch from surface ships, with this variant also being produced for coastal defense (NATO codename "SSC-1B Sepal"); and the "P-6" (NATO codename "SS-N-3C Shaddock") for launch from submarines. Both featured an INS-Doppler radar navigation system, with an active radar terminal attack guidance system, and could be fitted with either an 800 kilogram (1,765 pound) conventional warhead or a nuclear warhead with an approximate yield of 100 kilotonnes of TNT. Range was up to 350 kilometers (220 miles).
P-35 (SS-N-3B SEPAL) & P-6 (SS-N-3 SHADDOCK): _____________________ _________________ _______________________ spec metric english _____________________ _________________ _______________________ wingspan 2.6 meters 8 feet 6 inches length 10 meters 32 feet 10 inches body diameter 90 centimeters 3 feet launch weight 4,500 kilograms 9,920 pounds speed Mach 1.4 range 350 kilometers 220 MI / 190 NMI _____________________ _________________ _______________________
On launch with the RATO boosters, the missile would climb to high altitude, speed up to Mach 1.4, and then start scanning for targets with its radar seeker. The radar image was relayed back to the launch platform over a radio datalink, allowing a shipboard operator to select the desired target in the image -- presumably the biggest "blip", the aircraft carrier -- and authorize an attack on it. On authorization, the missile would descend to low altitude and perform its terminal attack at supersonic speed. It would plunge into the water before striking the target to ensure the maximum amount of damage to the target's hull.
Initial flight tests of the P-35 began in October 1959, with tests of the P-6 beginning in December 1959. These weapons were deployed on a number of Red Navy surface warships and submarines during the 1960s, including:
The P-35 / P-6 gave Red Navy warships and submarines a formidable equalizer against Western carrier groups to match the air-launched missiles being fielded by the Red Air Force. However, the P-35 / P-6 did require assistance from aircraft as well. The first problem in organizing an attack with antiship missiles against a Western naval group was simply to find the target in the first place. Although it might seem hard to conceal something as big as an aircraft carrier with its escort vessels, the open ocean is a mighty big place as well, and in practice finding such a target was like hunting for a needle in a haystack. The answer was to use the Tupolev Tu-16RM Badger D signals-intelligence (SIGINT) platform to get a lead on the location, and then use a Tu-95RC Bear D radar platform to get a precise lock on it. Cooperation between the two platforms was loose: the Tu-16RM would spot an emitter from outside the range of carrier group defenses, cue the Tu-95RC to the target, and then go hunting for other emitters.
Along with the radar, the Tu-95RC featured a datalink system to cue the launch platforms with targeting information. ECHO II submarines used a fire control system (FCS) to program the missile guidance system and communicate with it in flight. The entire architecture -- aircraft, radar, datalink connections, FCS -- was designated the "MRSC-1 Uspekh", and was fielded in the second half of the 1960s.
Two improved and complementary systems were fielded in the 1970s. The first was the "Uspekh-U", which was essentially an updated Uspekh system with the same general capabilities but many refinements. Along with the Bear-D, the Kamov Ka-25 Hormone B and the Ka-27 Helix B naval helicopters were eventually integrated into the Uspekh system as targeting platforms. The other was the "MKRC Legenda" system, which was space-based, using the US-P SIGINT satellites and the nuclear-powered US-A radar ocean reconnaissance satellites (RORSATs) for targeting. Submarines were fitted with receiving gear to pick up targeting data from the satellites. The US-A RORSATs were something of an environmental threat that caused the Soviet Union a lot of bad press, so they were finally removed from service in the late 1980s by order of Mikhail Gorbachov, but naval SIGINT satellites remained in service.
Some sources claim that the P-5 / P-35 / P-6 series was also used for reconnaissance, and it is plausible that after their retirement from first-line service they were used as target drones. However, details of such roles are lacking.BACK_TO_TOP
* The P-35 / P-6 had its limitations. It took several minutes to set it up for launch -- submarines could only launch the weapon from the surface -- and only 12 could be launched at a time since that was the number of seeker radar and control datalink channels available. From the order to launch to impact took about 20 or 30 minutes, during which time enemy air assets were likely to be active. Two to four hits with nuclear-armed missiles would take out a carrier battlegroup; nobody thought that missiles with conventional warheads would be more than a painful annoyance to the enemy, and so making use of the weapon meant "going nuclear". Nobody with any sense saw that as anything but a suicidal act of desperation, and so the P-35 / P-6 was basically a weapon that nobody dared use.
The fact that a submarine had to surface to fire a P-6 was recognized as an obvious problem, and OKB-52 quickly went on to develop an antiship missile, the "P-70 Ametist" (NATO codename "SS-N-7 Starbright"), that could be launched from underwater. It was introduced to service in the late 1960s, to be followed by an improved and scaled-up successor, the "P-120 Malakhit" (NATO codename "SS-N-9 Siren"), in the 1970s . Both of these were rocket-powered, short-range weapons more in the class of the French Exocet missile. The P-120 has now been followed by a medium-range ramjet-powered weapon, the "P-100 Yakhont" (NATO codename "SS-N-26"). All these missiles are covered in the companion DUMB BOMBS & SMART MUNITIONS document.
* Along with these weapons, OKB-52 came up with the "P-500 Bazalt" (NATO codename "SS-N-12 Sandbox"), derived from the experimental "P-350 Bazalt", a direct follow-on to the P-35 that never reached production. The P-500 was largely overlooked in the West, since the Soviets released little or no information about it, and in fact no photographs of the missile were released until well after the fall of the USSR.
The design turned out to be much like that of the P-5 / P-35 / P-6, but the P-500 was distinctly more formidable. It had substantially greater range, about 550 kilometers (340 miles), well out of the normal reach of a carrier group's defenses, and was faster, with a maximum speed of Mach 2 at altitude and about Mach 1.5 at low level. It was one of the first Soviet missiles to feature a digital processor, and it also featured a digital INS. It had a dual-mode seeker, which could operate in an active radar seeking or anti-radar passive homing mode. It even had an onboard active jamming system to disrupt defensive radars, and armor over vital systems to improve survivability. It could be fitted with a conventional warhead with a weight of 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) or a nuclear warhead with a yield in the range of hundreds of kilotonnes.
The P-500 was designed for salvo launch, the Red Navy having moved to "mass attack" tactics to deal with Western carrier groups. A submarine could launch eight missiles in a rapid salvo, maintaining communications with them all using a datalink system and providing course updates if necessary. One of the missiles in the salvo would fly at a high altitude, up to 7,000 meters (23,000 feet), using its active radar seeker to hunt the target. The others would remain at medium to low altitude (down to about 30 meters / 100 feet), with their seekers in passive homing mode while acquiring targeting updates from the high-flying missile. The high flier would also allocate targets to the missiles, with half of them attacking the carrier and the rest allocated to other targets, one missile per target. If the high flier was shot down, another missile in the target would climb and take over its role. The missiles would all go to active radar seeking for terminal attack.
P-500 BAZALT / (SS-N-12 SANDBOX): _____________________ _________________ _______________________ spec metric english _____________________ _________________ _______________________ wingspan 2.6 meters 8 feet 6 inches length 11.7 meters 38 feet 5 inches body diameter 90 centimeters 3 feet total weight 4,800 kilograms 10,580 pounds speed Mach 2 range 550 kilometers 340 MI / 295 NMI _____________________ _________________ _______________________
Initial trials of the P-500 system began in 1969, with the weapon system introduced to service in 1975. Ten of the 29 ECHO II-class attack submarines were refitted to carry the P-500. The submarines could communicate with the targeting systems from periscope depth. They carried eight missiles each, usually six with conventional warheads and two with nuclear warheads. The P-500 Bazalt was also used by surface vessels, including the four KIEV-class cruiser-carrier vessels and four SLAVA-class cruisers. The KIEV ships had eight launchers forward, while the SLAVA-class cruisers have 16 launchers, and can use their Kamov Ka-27 Helix helicopters for over-the-horizon targeting.
* One of the SLAVA-class cruisers, the VARYAG, may have been re-armed with the somewhat mysterious "P-1000 Vulkan", which began development in 1979 and was introduced into service in 1982. As far as sketchy reports go, the P-1000 is externally similar, maybe almost identical to, to the P-500 Bazalt, but has titanium armor and some titanium structural elements, reducing empty weight, and is also fitted with a more powerful RATO booster and a more fuel-efficient cruise engine, increasing its range to 700 kilometers (435 miles). The P-1000 was also fitted to five of the ECHO II-class submarines.BACK_TO_TOP
* In 1969, work began on a successor to the P-500, which would emerge as the "P-700 Granit" (NATO "SS-N-19 Shipwreck"). The concept was that the P-700 would be guided to its target directly from the satellite network after a mass underwater launch from a group of OSCAR I and OSCAR II submarines, each with 24 missiles, working in conjunction with Tu-22M antiship bombers. The submarines would receive initial targeting coordinates from a longwave communications link to ground bases, launch from a range of about 500 kilometers (310 miles) at a depth of about 30 meters (100 feet), and then depart at high speed. Five submarines launching together could fire 120 missiles, overwhelming carrier group defenses and giving a high probability of "kills" even with conventional warheads.
The guidance and attack scheme used by the P-700 is very similar to that used by the P-500: one missile in the salvo of 24 goes to high altitude and "leads" the rest using active radar seeker mode, while the others stay at low altitude and remain in passive guidance mode. The active seeker is only used in short "peeks" to reduce the chance of interception. High altitude speed is Mach 2.5, while low-altitude speed is Mach 1.5. The missile carries a deception jammer system to enhance penetration of enemy defenses; has a maneuvering guidance system that can follow one of a set of different preprogrammed courses to make its attack less predictable, and can receive guidance updates in flight; and has armor over its vital systems to help thwart carrier-group close-in defenses.
As with the P-500, no images of the P-700 were released until well after the fall of the USSR, and the general belief in the West was that it was another evolutionary descendant of the P-5 / P-35 / P-6. When images were finally released, it turned out to be almost completely unrelated in configuration, with a fuselage like a fat cigar, a jet inlet in the nose, twin delta wings, and cruciform tail surfaces. The P-700 can carry a 750 kilogram (1,650 pound) conventional warhead or a nuclear warhead with a yield of hundreds of kilotonnes. It is of course much more sophisticated, in particular featuring a digital processor with three CPUs.
P-700 GRANIT (SS-N-19 SHIPWRECK): _____________________ _________________ _______________________ spec metric english _____________________ _________________ _______________________ wingspan 2.6 meters 8 feet 6 inches length 10 meters 32 feet 10 inches body diameter 85 centimeters 33.5 inches launch weight 7,000 kilograms 15,435 pounds speed Mach 1.6 range 550 kilometers 340 MI / 300 NMI ____________________ _________________ _______________________
Work on the missile was conducted by OKB-52 while the overall system was built by TsNII Granit. Initial flight tests were in 1975, but development proved unsurprisingly troublesome and the missile wasn't accepted for service until 1983.
Two OSCAR I submarines were built, and were followed by 11 OCSAR II boats. One of the OSCAR II boats, the KURSK, infamously exploded and sank on 13 August 2000 with loss of all hands. If necessary, an OSCAR submarine can perform its own targeting for its load of 24 missiles with a long-range sonar system. The P-700 is also carried on surface vessels, including four KIROV-class cruisers and the full carrier ADMIRAL KUZNETSOV. Each KIROV-class vessel carries 20 P-700 near-vertical launch tubes; the launch system was adapted directly from the submarine launch system without many changes, and in fact the tubes have to be filled with water before missile launch. The missiles can be targeted by ship's radar and ELINT systems. The ADMIRAL KUZNETSOV carries 12 P-700 launchers.BACK_TO_TOP
* Sketchy reports indicate that the Chinese have been working on cruise missiles since at the least the late 1970s. Early development efforts focused on derivatives of fairly antique Soviet missiles, such as the "Silkworm" antiship missile, but a 1995 Russian document indicates that they may have developed a version of the Kh-55 with Russian assistance.
The Chinese may also have had access to Tomahawk cruise missile technology. Of the hundreds of US cruise missiles fired in anger through the 1990s, at least six were duds that fell to ground more or less in one piece. Some of these duds are believed to have fallen into Chinese hands.
The first operational Chinese cruise missile is believed to have entered service in 1992, under the designation "Hong Niao-1 (HN-1)". Intelligence assessments appear somewhat fuzzy, but the information available indicates that it has a modest range and resembles the Kh-55, with popout wings, tail, and engine. Guidance appears to be similar to that of the TLAM-D, with INS, terrain following using a radar altimeter, and a scene-matching terminal guidance system. It can carry a nuclear, high explosive, or cluster munition warhead.
HN-1 (ESTIMATED SPECIFICATIONS): _____________________ _________________ _______________________ spec metric english _____________________ _________________ _______________________ wingspan 3 meters 10 feet length 6.4 meters 21 feet total weight 1,400 kilograms 3,090 pounds warhead weight 400 kilograms 880 pounds speed subsonic range 600 kilometers 370 MI / 320 NMI _____________________ _________________ _______________________
Reports also suggest that an HN-2 version was introduced in 1996, with increased range, and that an HN-3 version with even more range is in the works. Current versions are believed to be fired from truck launchers like the BGM-109G Gryphon, but using twin solid rocket boosters. It appears that HN series then led to the "Dong Hai 10 (DH-10 / East China Sea 10)". It is believed to have a range of about 1,500 kilometers (930 miles), with a terrain mapping guidance system backed by a GPS-INS navigation system. It is unclear if the DH-10 has any relationship to the HN-2 or HN-3.
The Chinese have introduced a shorter range air-launched cruise missile, the "Ying Ji 62 (YJ-62 / Strike Eagle 62)", with jet propulsion, a range of up to 500 kilometers (310 miles), with 500 kilogram (1,100 pound) conventional warhead, satellite navigation guidance, and an electro-optical terminal guidance system. Released pictures reveal a cigar-shaped fuselage with stubby swept vee tailfins, short mid-mounted, heavily swept cropped delta wings, and an engine inlet under the tail. It appears to be a naval weapon, intended for antishipping attack or coastal land attack, different in configuration from but comparable to the US Harpoon / SLAM missile series.
* In the summer of 2005, Pakistan flight-tested a cruise missile named the "Hatf-7 Babur". No details were released other than that it had terrain-following; could be launched from air, ground, or sea; could carry a conventional or nuclear warhead; and had a range of about 500 kilometers (310 miles). Photos show a weapon very similar to the US Tomahawk; it seems the Pakistanis got their hands on "dud" Tomahawks fired into their territory. An improved variant with a range of 700 kilometers (435 miles) was tested in the spring of 2006, and is thought to be working on a version with a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).
The Pakistanis have also built an air-launched cruise missile, the "Hatf-8 Ra'ad". It has low-mounted switchblade wings, an underslung air intake, a twin-fin tail, can be carried on fighter aircraft, and has a range of about 350 kilometers (160 miles).
Not to be outdone, India is working on a cruise missile, the "Nirbhay (Fearless)", said to be similar to the Tomahawk and also with a range of 1,000 kilometers. Both ground-launched and air-launched versions are being considered, though the Indians have released few details. South Korea has test-flown a cruise missile, the "Cheon Ryong (Sky Dragon)", said to be similar to the Tomahawk and capable of being launched from a torpedo tube. Range is said to be about 1,000 kilometers.
* In 2012, in response to North Korean provocations, South Korea announced deployment of a new cruise missile, the "Hyunmu-3C". Few details were announced except that it had a range of 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) and that it was a surface-to-surface weapon. Imagery showed a weapon very similar to the US Tomahawk, except the pop-out wings were mounted farther forward. Apparently the South Koreans also have a "Hyunmu-3B" with two-thirds the range and a "Hyunmu-3A" with a third the range in service.BACK_TO_TOP