Russia: Hypersonic Cruise & Satellite-Destroying Missiles

Oniks cruise missiles being launched from the Bastion mobile coastal defence missile system at terrorist targets in Syria. Still from a video provided by the Rusian Defense Ministry.

Sputnik/Moscow: Last week, UK media reported on Russia’s impressive array of new and prospective weaponry, complaining that some systems, including the Oniks and Zircon supersonic and hypersonic missiles, and the S-500 air defense system, simply have no British equivalent. Military analyst Mikhail Khodarenok told Sputnik why the media is suddenly up in arms.

Last week, virtually the entire spectrum of British print media, including The Daily Mail, The Independent, IBT, The Times, and several military publications wrote about the creation of the “devastating” and “game-changing” new Russian hypersonic missile, the Zircon, which when deployed starting in 2020 will be capable of defeating any British warship’s anti-missile defenses due to its extreme speed.

Journalists warned that Russia’s other new anti-ship missile, the supersonic P-800 Oniks, also poses the serious threat to the Royal Navy. Finally, the papers complained, Russia’s S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air missile systems already have no Western equivalent, with the S-500 Prometey currently in development expected to be even deadlier.

Combat duty 3PK S-400 Triumph in Moscow region
Combat duty 3PK S-400 “Triumph” in Moscow region

Speaking to Radio Sputnik about the British military’s ‘sudden realization’ about the deadly capabilities of Russian weapons, military observer Mikhail Khodarenok suggested that there were several good reasons for the British military to be concerned.

For one thing, he said, this has to do with the fact that the British Army and Royal Navy are dependent on aging US systems. “For the most part, the countermeasures that the British have at their disposal meant to defend against [the Russian cruise missiles] are US designs, including the Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems and various air defense systems deployed aboard ships.”

However, in practice “it’s very difficult” to stop these weapons, Khodarenok added. “For example, deterring the P-800 Oniks anti-ship missile is very difficult, since the missiles are capable of flying toward an enemy ship at very low altitudes, and at twice the speed of sound; in other words, they remain in the zone of destruction by the ship’s onboard anti-missile systems for a matter of only a few seconds.”

The P-800 Oniks supersonic cruise missile, known in export markets as the Yakhont
The P-800 Oniks supersonic cruise missile, known in export markets as the Yakhont

As for the Zircon, deterring against that weapon will be even more difficult, Khodarenok stressed. “The Zircon will be hypersonic, and the means to combat them are not yet available, because no anti-aircraft missile system can yet target cruise missiles which move toward their targets at hypersonic speeds.”

As far as the media’s anxiety about Russia’s S-300 and S-400 series SAM systems is concerned, the military observer noted that “their reputation is already beyond dispute.” Meanwhile, he added, “the release of the S-500 is already approaching, and this system will be able to hit vehicles in space at near-Earth orbits. This is a completely new capability for SAMs.”Ultimately, Khodarenok suggested that the UK media’s newfound interest in the capabilities of Russian weapons will probably be used as an excuse for the country to increase its military budget.

“As a rule, such ‘scare tactics’ are used to try to squeeze out an increase in spending on national defense. But here it’s worth noting that the main developer and supplier of the relevant systems – the kind which could compete on equal terms with Russian arms and equipment, is the United States.” Accordingly, Khodarenok noted, the British will probably be counting on their American allies to come up with the appropriate response.

Whatever the case may be, Moscow might take some comfort in the sensationalized reporting about Russian weapons, reasoning that a recognition of the strength of Russian arms might just calm forces aiming to continue NATO’s confrontational approach toward Russia.

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16 Responses to "Russia: Hypersonic Cruise & Satellite-Destroying Missiles"

  1. Andrew_Bukanov(Russia)  April 15, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Zirkon today tested well. Approx.2500 km per second.

  2. Bartered  April 12, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Sounds like Iran fear porn. We have only 2 years to make Russia weak again.

    • Andrew_Bukanov(Russia)  April 13, 2017 at 10:43 am

      everything that is against Russia – makes us stronger 🙂

  3. JohnZ  April 11, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Definitely a game changer. However why the British government should become so alarmed at Russia’s defense capabilities when it is Britain serving as America’s poodle in the middle east and NATO aggressively posturing on Russia’s borders.
    It is very apparent the politicians in Britain are just as ignorant and just as blind and filled with hubris as those in Washington. They found out the hard way during the Falklands war just how easy it is to loose a ship. If Britain gets sucked further into Syria, they will loose more than one ship as America will also see it’s fleet resting on the bottom of the Mediterranean.

  4. Cosmodrome  April 11, 2017 at 5:23 am

    Uk military experts are suddenly worried – why? They know that Russia does not have a particularly strong offensive capability. They know that, effective as they are, all of these weapons are primarily defensive in nature. I think they just realised that US might be sending their boys in anger against superior weaponry. And they are beginning to doubt the effectiveness of the US MIC to give them what they really need. The sunset of the empire may see the needs of allies becoming lesser concerns. UK realise that after acquiring the F-35 the imminent bankruptcy of the empire and Lockheed Martin may make the whole fleet unserviceable (too expensive to service, no spare parts, or experts, factories closed!). It’ll be too late to buy Sukhois then! Just a thought.

  5. RussG553  April 10, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    When (not if) the next attack by the US on Syria occurs, Russia will respond by taking out a couple of destroyers or an aircraft carrier group with such speed and devastation, and with total ineffectiveness of US defenses, that the US bobbleheads in Washington will finally get it. Remember what Putin has said in the past, that if you know there is going to be a fight, drop the other guy first.

  6. Khalid Talaat  April 10, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Greetings Rooster… they need more a swift kick in the pants. According to one survey of US high school students, Canada was in Europe.

    • Aziz Khalfan  April 10, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      I bet they couldn’t find the US itself on the map !

  7. Aziz Khalfan  April 10, 2017 at 11:31 am

    With armaments that travel at comet speed there ain’t no time even to say a prayer.

    If the US battleships cant detect a submarine lurking right beneath it what chances do they have against missiles whose kinetics alone can topple it over ?
    I would advice the West to include prayers as part of their military training for when all else fails at least He hears.

    • Khalid Talaat  April 10, 2017 at 11:51 am

      I read somewhere that the Sunburn missile also goes supersonic as soon as it reaches the target’s zone of destruction and as it closes in on the target it takes a vertical logarithmic ( ever changing not a sine wave) trajectory to land vertically on the target. The US navy chain guns can not produce a timely solution. Now, Iran has 150 ot these Sunburn missiles anf if you Google earth the Iranian cost you will realize it is full of clifs and caves, hard to air strike, let alone where. Taking into account the small area of the Arabian/Persian Gulf, you want to ask what is the US navy doing threatening Iran in their back yard.

    • Aziz Khalfan  April 10, 2017 at 9:59 pm

      These missiles have been around for a while but people weren’t paying attention. Joe Vialls wrote quite a lot about them.

      http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Russian-Super-Sunburn-SS-N-26-ONYX-Missiles-Make-US-Navy-Obsolete-US-Attack-on-Iran-Suicidal_printer.shtml

  8. JohninMK  April 10, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Since it is difficult to believe that this publicly available data has come as news to anyone in the UK military tasked to find out and report about such matters I am with the comment that this is a ‘give us more money’ PR exercise with someone like BAE in the loop.

  9. Rooster  April 10, 2017 at 10:26 am

     Rooster
     April 10, 2017 at 10:25 am
    Well this is a puzzle. Trump and the deep state and the lying American Press, hmmmm. Do they really think that surrounding Damascus and killing Assad and putting headchoppers in to run Syria can be done with out paying a horrific price? What goddam idiots. These people deserve a hard slap in the face and even though I live in Canada, which for my American friends is North of you stupid people, like you know across the Northern Border so if North America is hit by what ever because of your belligerent stance so be it. I am just very tired of even thinking of you and what you may cause. Long Live Russia

  10. Rooster  April 10, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Well this is a puzzle. Trump and the deep state and the lying American Press, hmmmm. Do they really think that surrounding Damascus and killing Assad and putting headchoppers in to run Syria can be done with out paying a horrific price? What goddam idiots. These people deserve a hard slap in the face and even though I live in Canada, which for my American friends is North of you stupid people, like you know across the Northern Border so if North America is hit by what ever because of your belligerent stance so be it. I am just very tired of even thinking of you and what you may cause. Long Live Russia

    • JohnZ  April 11, 2017 at 6:15 am

      It’s not just a hard slap in the face they deserve, many of them need to be taken out and hung from a lamp post on Pennsylvania Ave.

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