Thursday, November 17, 2016

P-800 Oniks (Onyx) Surprise.

Let me start with the simple fact that all modern Soviet/Russian made Anti-Shipping Missiles have a secondary capability as Land-Attack Missiles against radio-contrast targets. It is the same as all Russian Navy ships' missile air defense complexes (ZRK) have secondary anti-shipping capability. Radar is radar and signal processing evolves constantly. Recent salvo by one of the Oscars-II with (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) Granit at land-based targets at Novaya Zemlya proving grounds merely confirmed utility of the long-range anti-shipping missiles against land targets. 

By now we all got used to Russian Navy launching its Kalibrs (3M14) missiles against jihadists in Syria. But using land-based K-300P Bastion complex armed with P-800 Onyx anti-shipping missiles is something completely new. 

There is no denial of the fact that in the last 12 months Russia demonstrated an impressive array of missile technologies and methods of their use and now this. Considering declared (what is it in reality is anyone's guess, Russia always downplays capabilities)  range of P-800 as 600 kilometers it becomes really clear what are the operational and strategic implications for any theater at which Bastions are deployed. Salvo by Onyxes at jihadists' targets in Syria gives this whole missile warfare a completely new dimension since provides a great flexibility for 6 (1 operational + 5 building) Severodvinsk-class (Project 885) SSGNs. Now, add here Zircon (3M22) which is undergoing flight tests and we are looking, as I already said many times before, at new emerging paradigm. If to believe probability of a single Zircon intercept by the latest US-NATO missiles such as SM-6 as P=0.02 through 0.03 (0.012-0.005 for distributed targeting), we get dismal numbers for a defending side. Even if we assume that those numbers are wrong (or do not consider all necessary coefficients) and we increase these numbers by the order of magnitude--we still end up with the death sentence for defending side even with the salvo of 2-3 missiles  

I do read Commander Salamander's blog often and a day ago he raised a very important issue of real or perceived missile gap which US Navy faces in the 21st Century. As I said not for once--there is a real missile gap and venerable Harpoons, even when installed on all US Navy's ships will hardly be an answer to what seems to be Captain Hughes' "Missile Age" with one very important qualifier--it is High-Supersonic and Hyper-sonic Missile Age. But let's step back from these numbers and missiles. Let's look at a larger picture. US and Russia shouldn't be enemies, I am not suggesting them being "allies", whatever that means, but I am sure that with the election of Donald Trump a much needed Detente must take place. Russians hate war and do not like to fight, they also do not want global domination and global control of the seas. Even moderate toning down of anti-Russian rhetoric and demonstration by upcoming Administration of a desire to discuss Russian-American relations on an equal footing can have a profoundly positive effect for both sides and will leave all of us with mere speculations on "what if" scenarios and academic discussion of technological trends, and that's the way I like it.  

I do not buy for a second that everything will turn peachy and rosy with ascendance of new Trump Administration, far from it. But it seems that with his providential victory we all stepped back from the precipice of the possible nuclear war. That is good enough for now. Once we accept this state of the affairs as our bottom line--many things become possible. Including but not limited to what US will face strategically in upcoming decades, including some badly needed realignments, which were supposed to have taken place early 1990s but they didn't, but that is the topic for a separate discussion. At least now we all can clearly state who the real enemy is in Syria.


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