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Russian Media Claims Club-K Containerized Anti-Ship Missile Is Hypersonic, Low-Observable

by Greg on June 21, 2010

A couple of months ago we brought you a marketing video from Russian company Kontsern Morinformsistema-Agat showing off its Club-K cruise missile which can be hidden inside a shipping container.

A Russian news agency report now claims the 3M-54E anti-ship version of the export oriented Club-K missile family is hypersonic, low-observable has a range of 300 kilometers and is far more lethal than the Harpoon or Exocet. The animation shows the missile sinking what appears to be a Ticonderoga class cruiser.

– Greg Grant

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff නඳබ Fraser June 21, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Sure it is.


Marvel June 21, 2010 at 6:12 pm

I agree with Nick Chen. They also fail to show a clear image of a real missile. If it works as well as they claim, I think it would mean several things: 1) a boon for the floundering Russian arms export industry 2) a revolution in coastal defense, making it very difficult to identify and eliminate missile networks and 3) a method by which anonymous actors could stage devastating attacks against multiple targets.


Maxtrue June 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm


I was here months ago proposing the ABL could serve as a platform for solid state lasers. I was told that the optics were not interchangeable. Really? Perhaps we might consider speed of light more seriously in light of hypersonics…..


@Earlydawn June 21, 2010 at 6:17 pm

In one fell swoop, the Russian Federation and any buyers just made their entire logistics network a valid target for preliminary strikes.

It's a nice concept, though. Follows the Russian military mindset; relatively inexpensive, reliable, and crafty.


bobbymike June 21, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Totally agree. "Where are those missiles?" "They are hiding them in civilian ship, trucks and trains" "OK carpet bomb the whole country to be safe"


Locarno June 23, 2010 at 7:58 am

Which is the problem. Even if it's known there is a battery of Klub-K's somewhere, do you *really* think that a US/NATO/UN force is going to be allowed to drop bombs on every ISO container park in a country?

Even if they were permitted to, the scale of the task is a logistical and force-planning nightmare.

Perhaps a relevant question is how targeting information gets to the missile. If using it to shoot at a ship, you're going to need to feed target information in from something, somewhere. That implies a sensor (which you could kill) and a comms link (which might help you locate the sensor and/or the disguised missile).


Maxtrue June 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm
Maxtrue June 21, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Gee, that didn't work. I hope the full http is visible above or see Ares and look for recent post regarding ABL….


Andres June 21, 2010 at 7:08 pm

the missile accelerates to supersonic or hypersonic (depends on source) in terminal flight phase only. but modern anti-missile missiles have a range of more than 100 miles (i.e. SM-2ER RIM-156A Block IV or SM-6 RIM-174 and even the ESSM with a range more than 40 Miles). Means the Klub missile could be shot down even before entering the fatal terminal phase. correct me if i'm wrong.


citanon June 21, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Since it's OTH they'll need an AWACs in the air with fleet cooperative engagement capability.


Wombat June 22, 2010 at 1:13 am

Actually the SM-2 is semi-active so it needs the ship's radars to do terminal illumination, however since the SM-6 has an active seeker it can do OTH without the need for AWACS support (but it does help for mid-course guidance).


citanon June 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm

How would the ship's radars see a sea skimming cruise missile more than 100 miles out?


nraddin June 24, 2010 at 4:26 am

Your not, but you can see something that close to the water more than 20 miles out without to much of an issue. Radar array on the ship is more than 70 feet up and the missile is flying at more than 70 feet up. D=sqrt(2Rh)

Oh and then they have to get past the CWIS.

Andres June 24, 2010 at 5:42 pm

u didn't get the message buddy….the Club is not sea skimming and hypersonic while 100 miles away from the target you would need a missile as big as flying tanker for that. sea skimming and hypersonic is just the last 20 miles or so. u will definitely be able to get that missile down (i.e. with the sm-6 since it has the OTH possibility due to the active seeker) while it is still in its boosting stage. The hypersonic version of the Club has not a range of 200 miles (thats the subsconic version) but rather 100 maybe up to 150 miles (but the SM-6 will easily go 180 Miles maybe even 200 or more but thats classfied). Another point is the state of the art air-defense missile called ESSM, please remember it can be quad-packed into one VLS cell, the burke has 96 cells and if just a small fraction of those cells carry the ESSM that makes a vast amount of missiles u can shoot at the incoming object – like a shotgun but every projectile is highly maneuverable due to the thrust vector which allows them to make a 50g turn and above that its speed is over mach 4!

as u can see – no need to panic lol

Wombat June 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm

You are mostly correct. We don't use the SM-2ER or BlkIV anymore (there are about 100 Blk IVs in the fleet primarily for terminal short range ballistic missiles) But, the SM2 Blk IIIB or ESSM (or SM-6 once it makes IOC) could easily take out the missile while it is still in its pre-terminal phase (high and slow). The best anti-ship missile is low, slow and hard maneuvering.


Tim June 21, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Typical Russian bluff. Recently, they built a box aftly named T-50 and said it is much better than the F-22 when the facts are that they have only built one prototype, flew it about 15 times (2000 more to go), used a 3rd generation, derivative engine of the Su-27, flew it sub-sonic, completely without any advanced avionics, without "stealth" tests, etc. Yet, they could turn a lot of old-style Soviet believers overnight.

What they essentially did to any Club-K missile platform buyers is that during a war with the US, their entire logistical base and infrastructure is not only at risk, but their civilians as well, for they even suggested putting those platform in warehouses…


Ing3nium June 21, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Yeah, its high risk, but it would also be a night mere PR problem to attack civilian / logistical targets. But until they were fired you may not know they are there. You can't blow up every container in a country because it "might" hold missiles.


citanon June 21, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Attacks on economic infrastructure has not historically caused PR problems. During the Yugoslav war NATO pulverized Yugloslavia's economy yet people here hardly batted an eye lid. The Western public only seems to believe that killing people is bad. Destroying people's livelihood is mostly seen as attacking the evil corporations


Ing3nium June 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I can't seem to get the video to play, but I wouldn't easily write this report off…

The Club K is being produced by "Concern Morinform-system-AGAT". This is the same company that produces the "Sizzler" or "Club". The Sizzler is supposed to have a range of 300km, a 450kg warhead, and be supersonic.

The "Club-K" is simply them putting four Sizzlers in a box and selling them.

- Source – The Economist (June 12th 2010). It cites a Vice Admiral and a manager for the US Navy on the Sizzler, so those numbers would seem to be accurate. And according to them we won't even have a target missile that can match the Sizzler's performance until 2014.


jsallison June 21, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Do I dare say it? Why yes, yes I do: Nuke them from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.


stephen russell June 22, 2010 at 12:45 am

OR strike any land site from sea with nuke warhead.


Bill June 22, 2010 at 1:43 am

A Scud with a hemi on it ,why didn't we think of that.! those damm ruskies!!


Mathew June 22, 2010 at 10:42 am

this will be similar to the 3M-54E except with a faster terminal stage , allready the 3M-54E has a range of 300km at mach 0.8 , with a burst to mach 2.9 for terminal approach , coupled with high-G and high angle of attack profile; the russians along with the indians have been working on Brahmos2 with a mach 5 terminal approach so the target (lab tested in 2008) so cross over would be feasable


look at the supersonic version – the winged `carrier` is holdin the `sleak` supersonic vehicle – so , it approaches at mach 0.8 then releases the `hypersonic` package.


Buleghin il vecio August 17, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Slow with the nukes….there are also russian nukes, do You wish to test the smell?


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