October 8, 2015

Russian Missiles Aimed at IS Targets in Syria - but 4 crash in Iran


Artist's impression of a Klub (NATO designation "Sizzler", Russians oftern call it "Kalibr") missile probably being used in anti-shipping mode. It may also fly low, below radar detection, in land attack mode. As Islamic State probably has no anti-missile defences the Russian Klub's fired overnight would have mainly flown high to maximise their range.
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It appears that 4 of the missiles Russia aimed at Syria actually crashed in Iran. Iran and Russia have not admitted the full extent of Putin's failure.

Several hours ago a force of four Russian ships in the Caspian Sea fired 26 cruise missiles 1,500 km to hit 11 Islamic State targets in Syria. The ships were the Gepard class frigate Dagestan and Bauyan-M class corvettes, Grad SviyazhskUglich and Veliky Ustyug. The missiles they launched from their VLS were Klubs.

This is Russia's first use of modern cruise missiles for land attack that I know of. The missiles were surface ship fired Klub land attack missiles. Similar submarine fired Klubs are owned by India and Vietnam and used in their Kilo subs.

The Klubs used are capable of hitting a target within 3 meters at a range of up to 2,500 km (according to RT). Actual variant of the Klub could be the land attack surface launched "3M-14T - DOD designation SS-N-30A"

The firing of the Klubs a day ago represent a Russian gesture that Russia is now a major player in Middle East interventionist, power politics. The US, with its presumption that it controls how interventions go, is unnerved by the rapid escalation of Russian military force in the hithertoo US dominated Middle East. 

Only a week ago it was the beginning of Russian fighter-bomber airstrikes over Syria. Now it is regional missile overflights - overflying the US client state of Iraq. Russia flying missiles over oil important Iran and Iraq presents quite a geo-political-economic headache for the US. 

Russia is very much aligning itself with religiously Shiite (Islamic) dominated Iran, Assad's Syria and Iraq. This unnerves the Sunni (Islamic) states that the US protects, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and also Turkey (a country less religious but still mainly Sunni). Meanwhile Israel may welcome Russia providing support to Assad's rule in Syria. Even though Israel doesn't like Assad Israel would see the anarchy of terrorist groups (including IS) "ruling" Syria as worse than Assad.

Russian warships launching Klub cruise missiles.
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The missiles were launched from the Caspian Sea. Russia already had permission from Iran and Iraq to overfly their territory. The Assad government was pre-briefed by Russia about the missile strikes on IS. (Map courtesy RT)
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Airstrikes by Russia and the US coalition as at October 5, 2015. Note both Russia and the US have targeted the IS headquarters at Raqqa and IS near Aleppo.  (Map courtesy BBC).

Pete

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Bauyan M corvette does pack a mighty punch for such a low tonnage. A large fleet of Bauyan using hit and run tactics within an EEZ can be problematic to a lot of naval fleets. The much larger Gepard only offers marginally better SAM but trades off a much larger radar signature instead

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous

Thanks for the details and insights.

At only 950 tons full load the Bauyan covettes certainly have a formidable missile and gun armament https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buyan-class_corvette .

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
I thought you need to see this,

Foreign bidders battle for A$50bn Australian submarine contract
Jamie Smyth in Adelaide
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c7416a04-68c0-11e5-a57f-21b88f7d973f.html#axzz3nkjiQM9Q

Why China's Nuclear Subs Are Subpar
http://www.nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/why-chinas-nuclear-subs-are-subpar-14023

subdriver said...

The Klubs on the IN kilos are of less than 300 km range in accordance with the MTCR regime.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

I tried http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c7416a04-68c0-11e5-a57f-21b88f7d973f.html#axzz3nkjiQM9Q but they just asked me for money to subscribe. They are not free like Submarine Matters :)

"Why China's Nuclear Subs Are Subpar"
http://www.nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/why-chinas-nuclear-subs-are-subpar-14023 is very interesting - thanks. Fortunate the Chinese seem way behind in nuclear subs.

Cheers

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi subdriver

Its true that the export versions, known as Klub-S, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3M-54_Klub#Klub-S

are officially limited to 300km for MTCR. This is instead of 2,500 km for domestic Russian variants.

However I think in the arms business there is much money for secret range extensions (eg. foreign technical advisers carrying out after sale service) whose efforts will only become apparent in wars - where treaty inspections are few.

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
You need to read this from CDR Salamander. His blog post is very interesting on the cruise missile.

Russian Navy Breaks the Seal
http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/2015/10/russian-navy-breaks-seal.html

As for Chinese Nuclear submarines, I would put them on par with the 1970's era Soviet Nuclear submarines.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Seems that 4 of the Russian missiles crashed in Iran http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34479873

Iran has not yet detailed this disaster caused by Russia.

Cheers

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi pete,
This may Interest you cause Indonesia is looking to buy the Scorpene class Submarine

Will Indonesia Buy French Stealth Submarines?
http://thediplomat.com/2015/10/will-indonesia-buy-french-stealth-submarines/

I also think what were seeing is what was done 25 years ago. Remember Gulf war 1

Anonymous said...

The Kalibr for domestic consupmtion and Klub for exports may only share the same architecture (derived from the 3M10) and may not share the same design. We do not know for sure if the longer range Kalibr has a larger 650mm diameter or share the same 510mm diameter with the Klub. Russian subs have the larger 650mm torpedo tubes besides the 533mm NATO-like tubes. The Kalibr may also have a longer fuselage 8.1m versus the 6m on the Klub 3M-14E/TE. Both factors will allow the Kalibr to carry much more fuel for a longer range.
The 2500km range is applicable for those that are air launched at high altitude from bombers. From a ship, range will be less since there is no benefits from gliding.
The other difference is in the engine. The Klub has a gaz guzzler turbojet while the Kalibr is on a turbofan. A turbofan consumes on average ~3X less fuel than a turbojet for the same thrust, so if a Klub uses a turbofan its range will automatically exceeds MTCR by quite a bit. Micro turbofans and turbojects are quite similar in weight, volume and may even be a near drop in replacement.
Even the US Tomahawk is known to stray of course. No weapon has a 100% reliability, not even 90%. One example is known to have fallen in Pakistani hands which then was transferred to China, same with the black project stealth Blackhawk. So 4 out of 26 is 85% reliability, not too shabby.

Anonymous said...

I believe there is a possibility Indonesia will buy the Scorpene 1000 to supplement the Russian purchase. A big portion of the SCS is very shallow. What the Scorpene 1000 compares unfavorably is with the SM-39 Block 3 whose range is only 180km next to the Klub.

I agree that LACM saw the light back in 1991. But what Russia just demonstrated is the US no longer has the monopoly on LACM (the event weakens the US strategic position globally), and as a worldwide marketing campaign for the Klub (given where oil price is), it is a great coup. One can never count the bear out.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at October 11, 2015 at 8:56 AM]

Thanks for your very detailed and knowledgable comments.

As well as the difficulty of ascertaining diameter and length of the 26 cruise missiles, according to current standard scales, it is not known whether they are specific first time operational variants with wholey new dimensions, weights and engine components.

I was unaware of the reliability issues with the Tomahawk as the US and other users (like the UK) don’t advertise “impacted off course” Tomahawk shots.

The likelihood of some unreliability will have to be factored in by Australian defence planners as Tomahawks are one of the major items (with the US submarine combat system for targeting them) that Australia wants in its future Australian submarine project (SEA 1000).

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at October 11, 2015 at 9:06 AM]

It would be just like Indonesia to want to buy Scorpene 1000s (with shortish range SM-39 Block 3 Exocet SLCMs)

- to supplement 2 or more Russian Kilos it may also buy

- to supplement the 3 Chang Bogos (Type 209s) that Indonesia is actually buying from South Korea.

The benefits to Indonesia in terms of different supply chains, training, simulators and interoperability issues of three distinctly different submarine types would also benefit Indonesia’s strategic competitors.

Yes the 26 cruise missile launch is very significant politico-strategically as the US and other Tomahawk users no longer have a working LACM monopoly.

The more instability Russia causes in the Middle East the higher world oil prices will tend to rise to benefit the oil price commodity dependent Russian economy. In a circular way Putin can use the extra revenue to fund more weapons in more overseas military ventures. The US would not use a similar dynamic – of course.

Regards

Pete