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Anti-ship ballistic missile

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Title: Anti-ship ballistic missile  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Persian Gulf (missile), DF-21, Ballistic missile, HQ-7, List of missiles by country
Collection: Anti-Ship Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Ballistics, Chinese Inventions, Missile Types, Missiles, Naval Warfare, Unmanned Vehicles
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Anti-ship ballistic missile

An anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) is a military quasiballistic missile system designed to hit a warship at sea.

The ASBM's conventional warhead and kinetic energy may be sufficient to cripple or outright destroy a supercarrier with a single hit. However, unlike a nuclear warhead, this will require a direct hit to be effective. Thus, and unlike a typical ballistic missile, which follows a ballistic flightpath after the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight, an ASBM would require a precise and high-performance terminal guidance system, with in-flight updates or advanced sensors in order to hit its moving target.


  • Soviet Union 1
  • China 2
  • Iran 3
  • Countermeasures 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Soviet Union

The 4K18 was a Soviet Union intermediate-range ballistic anti-ship missile (also known as R-27K, where "K" stands for Korabelnaya which means "ship-related") NATO SS-NX-13. Initial submarine testing began on 9 December 1972 on board the K-102, a project 605 class submarine. Test firings were carried out between 11 September and 4 December 1973. Following the initial trials, the K-102 continued making trial launches with both the R-27 and the R-27K, until it was accepted for service on 15 August 1975.

Using external targeting data, the R-27K/SS-NX-13 would have been launched underwater to a range of between 350-400 nm (650–740 km), covering a "footprint" of 27 nm (50 km). The Maneuvering Re-Entry vehicle (MaRV) would then home in on the target with a CEP of 400 yards (370 m). Warhead yield was between 0.5-1 Mt.

The R-27K / SS-NX-13 was the world's first Anti Ship Ballistic Missile however it never became operational, since every launch tube used for the R-27K counted as a strategic missile in the SALT agreement, and they were considered more important.


China has inducted the world's first [1] operational anti-ship ballistic missile, known as the DF-21D.[2] In 2010, it was reported that China had entered the DF-21D into its early operational stage for deployment.[3] The potential threat from the DF-21D against US aircraft carriers has reportedly caused major changes in US strategy.

China is apparently working on a second generation ASBM using hypersonic glide vehicle technology tested on the WU-14. This would allow the warhead to search for the current location of the American carrier, instead of just dropping down to the spot it was first aimed at. The high speed maneuvers would also make the missile much harder to intercept.[4]


In February 2011, Iran demonstrated a short-range anti-ship ballistic missile named Persian Gulf or Khalij Fars, a missile based on the Fateh-110 which successfully hit a stationary target vessel. It has been reported as a short ranged ballistic missile with a range of 250–300 km.


The United States Navy fields what some experts think to be the best midcourse anti-ballistic defense in the world, and is developing high powered lasers for terminal-defense against anti-ship ballistic missiles.[5] The U.S. arsenal has a variety of potential countermeasures.

According to a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, Roger Cliff,
“The thing to keep in mind is that, in order for China to successfully attack a U.S. navy ship with a ballistic missile, it must first detect the ship, identify it as a U.S. warship of a type that it wishes to attack (e.g., an aircraft carrier), acquire a precise enough measurement of its location that a missile can be launched at it (i.e., a one-hour old satellite photograph is probably useless, as the ship could be 25 miles away from where it was when the picture was taken), and then provide mid-course updates to the missile. Finally, the warhead must lock onto and home in on the ship.[6]

This complicated “kill chain” provides a number of opportunities to defeat the attack.

For example, over-the-horizon radars used to detect ships can be jammed, spoofed, or destroyed; smoke and other obscurants can be deployed when an imagery satellite, which follows a predictable orbit, is passing over a formation of ships; the mid-course updates can be jammed; and when the missile locks on to the target its seeker can be jammed or spoofed. Actually intercepting the missile is probably the most difficult thing to do.

[...]The missile by itself would be pretty useless. As implied by my response to the previous question, an entire “system of systems” is needed to make it work. Some countries might buy them just to impress their neighbors, but their combat effectiveness would be negligible unless the country also invested in the needed detection, data processing, and communications systems.”[6]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Talmadge, Eric (5 August 2010). "Chinese missile could shift Pacific power balance". msnbc. 
  3. ^ Gertz, Bill (27 December 2010). "China has carrier-killer missile, U.S. admiral says". The Washington Times. 
  4. ^ Perrett, Bradley; Sweetman, Bill (January 27, 2014). "U.S. Navy Sees Chinese HGV As Part Of Wider Threat". Penton. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Chinese Anti-ship Missiles Could Be Countered By U.S Ship Based Lasers." Defense World, 4 July 2012.
  6. ^ a b Harry Kazianis. "". The Diplomat. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 

External links

  • Executive overview: Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems, July 2008
  • An introduction to ballistic missiles
  • Aviation Week
  • China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability: The Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Challenge to U.S. Maritime Operations in the Western Pacific and Beyond, Project 2049 Institute, September 2009
  • Using The Land To Control The Sea?: Chinese Analysts Consider the Anti-ship Ballistic Missile, Naval War College, September 2009
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