Russian Cruise Missiles and Implications for US/NATO

August 25, 2015
Nikolai Sokov

Russian Cruise Missiles and Implications for USNATO

3M-14E at MAKS-2011 exhibition

The following is an excerpt of an article that originally appeared in the blog,

A few days ago Bill Gertz alerted the public to a new Russian sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM), SS-N-30A, known in Russia as Kalibr. The new supersonic missile, he said, was tested last month and is ready for deployment. It could reach targets across Europe and represents a threat akin to SS-20 intermediate-range missiles, which the Soviets deployed in the late 1970s/early 1980s and which were eliminated under the 1987INF [Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces]  Treaty. “A cruise missile variant also is being developed that officials said appears to violate the 1987 INF Treaty,” he added.

The disclosure is very interesting, but not particularly informative. The missile is not new – it has been in testing mode for seven years, if not longer, and is based on an even older SLCM. It is not exactly supersonic. The quote above is misleading: all versions of Kalibr are cruise missiles; Gertz probably meant a test flight from land-based launcher, which is the likely reason for the American accusation that Russia is in violation of the INF Treaty. And, although the reported capacity of Kalibrs to reach targets across Europe from submarines is a concern, he missed a significantly greater challenge stemming from the recent versions of that missile.

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