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The SS-N-22 Sunburn: Iran’s Awesome Anti-Ship Missile! The Weapon That Could Defeat The US In The Gulf !

Russia’s awesome SS-N-22 Sunburn missile!

  • The SS-N-22 Sunburn missile is made by the Russians. Iran is rumoured to have improved upon this missile in terms of range and speed! We do not know whether the Chinese have provided any of their missile technology to the Iranians. If the Chinese have sold them the DF21D missile, specifically designed to be a carrier killer, it is game over for the western naval armada! See: US admiral: Carrier killer won’t stop US Navy!
  • From what I gather, in Pentagon war gaming/simulations: 3 out of 4 aircraft carriers will be sunk by the Iranians. It is no surprise that General Dempsey is unwilling to engage the Iranians in a war. All the hubris, macho show of force will count for nothing when the Sunburns come flying in. The western naval armada is in for a nasty ass whooping! The probability of 70% of the naval armada being sunk within the first 4 hours of conflict is very high!

    The SS-N-22 Sunburn: Iran’s Awesome Anti-Ship Missile! The Weapon That Could Defeat The US In The Gulf ! 
    by Mark Gaffney, 2 Nov 2004
     …. How could a few picayune destroyers threaten the US Pacific fleet?” Here is where the story thickens: Summer Pulse amounted to a tacit acknowledgement, obvious to anyone paying attention, that the United States has been eclipsed in an important area of military technology, and that this qualitative edge is now being wielded by others, including the Chinese; because those otherwise very ordinary destroyers were, in fact, launching platforms for Russian-made 3M-82 Moskit anti-ship cruise missiles (NATO designation: SS-N-22 Sunburn), a weapon for which the US Navy currently has no defense. …
    The Sunburn Missile
    I was shocked when I learned the facts about these Russian-made cruise missiles. …. And nowhere is this truer than in the vital area of anti-ship cruise missile technology, where the Russians hold at least a ten-year lead over the US.
    Many years ago, Soviet planners gave up trying to match the US Navy ship for ship, gun for gun, and dollar for dollar. The Soviets simply could not compete with the high levels of US spending required to build up and maintain a huge naval armada. They shrewdly adopted an alternative approach based on strategic defense. They searched for weaknesses, and sought relatively inexpensive ways to exploit those weaknesses. The Soviets succeeded: by developing several supersonic anti-ship missiles, one of which, the SS-N-22 Sunburn, has been called “the most lethal missile in the world today.”
    Some have even warned that the US Navy’s largest ships, the massive carriers, have now become floating death traps, and should for this reason be mothballed.

     The Sunburn can deliver a 200-kiloton nuclear payload, or: a 750-pound conventional warhead, within a range of 100 miles, more than twice the range of the Exocet. The Sunburn combines a Mach 2.1 speed (two times the speed of sound) with a flight pattern that hugs the deck and includes “violent end maneuvers” to elude enemy defenses. The missile was specifically designed to defeat the US Aegis radar defense system. Should a US Navy Phalanx point defense somehow manage to detect an incoming Sunburn missile, the system has only seconds to calculate a fire solution not enough time to take out the intruding missile. The US Phalanx defense employs a six-barreled gun that fires 3,000 depleted-uranium rounds a minute, but the gun must have precise coordinates to destroy an intruder “just in time.”

    The Sunburn’s combined supersonic speed and payload size produce tremendous kinetic energy on impact, with devastating consequences for ship and crew. A single one of these missiles can sink a large warship, yet costs considerably less than a fighter jet.

     US naval commanders operating in the Persian Gulf face serious challenges that are unique to the littoral, i.e., coastal, environment. A glance at a map shows why: The Gulf is nothing but a large lake, with one narrow outlet, and most of its northern shore, i.e., Iran, consists of mountainous terrain that affords a commanding tactical advantage over ships operating in Gulf waters. The rugged northern shore makes for easy concealment of coastal defenses, such as mobile missile launchers, and also makes their detection problematic.
     The Sunburn’s amazing accuracy was demonstrated not long ago in a live test staged at sea by the Chinese and observed by US spy planes. Not only did the Sunburn missile destroy the dummy target ship, it scored a perfect bull’s eye, hitting the crosshairs of a large “X” mounted on the ship’s bridge. The only word that does it justice, awesome, has become a cliché, hackneyed from hyperbolic excess. The US Navy has never faced anything in combat as formidable as the Sunburn missile. But this will surely change if the US and Israel decide to wage a so-called preventive war against Iran to destroy its nuclear infrastructure.
    The US ships in the Gulf will already have come within range of the Sunburn missiles and the even more-advanced SS-NX-26 Yakhonts missiles, also Russian-made (speed: Mach 2.9; range: 180 miles) deployed by the Iranians along the Gulf’s northern shore. Every US ship will be exposed and vulnerable. When the Iranians spring the trap, the entire lake will become a killing field.
     Try and imagine it if you can: barrage after barrage of Exocet-class missiles, which the Iranians are known to possess in the hundreds, as well as the unstoppable Sunburn and Yakhonts missiles. The questions that our purblind government leaders should be asking themselves, today, if they value what historians will one day write about them, are two: how many of the Russian anti-ship missiles has Putin already supplied to Iran? And: How many more are currently in the pipeline?

     In 2001, Jane’s Defense Weekly reported that Iran was attempting to acquire anti-ship missiles from Russia. Ominously, the same report also mentioned that the more advanced Yakhonts missile was “optimized for attacks against carrier task forces.” Apparently its guidance system is “able to distinguish an aircraft carrier from its escorts.” The numbers were not disclosed.

    Iran’s Arsenal Of Sunburn Missiles Is More Than Enough To Close The Strait! 
    by Russ Winter, The Wall Street Examiner
    Editor’s Note – We can only hope that top military leaders get the memos and in case of poor distribution, we must ensure they read Business Insider or the Wall Street Journal each morning before they meet in war-gaming sessions. For decades, Iran has been the recipient of weapons provided by their ‘Sugar Daddies’ in Moscow.

    Russia has been generous with the Sunburn missile which Iran appears to possess in the thousands. With a range of 90 miles, the Russian SS-N-22 Sunburn is likely to be one of the weapons of choice for Iran for impeding shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. This is an versatile weapon and may be launched using various methods. The question at hand is how elastic are the counter-measures of the West, or more precisely, the United States in any offensive posture.

    Iran has the capability of not only closing the Strait for some time, but creating a world of hurt for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. Iran possesses a build up of anti-ship weapons called Sunburn missiles, which it has procured from Russia and China over the last decade. These are top-notch weapons developed by the Russians as a low-cost challenge to the expensive, tech-heavy weaponry of the U.S., and specifically the aircraft carrier task force. A conflict, which I now assign a high probability to [see Scenario for an Israel Attack on Iran], is going to be a huge test of a global-naval doctrine that Russia and China will watch with tremendous interest. That’s why I think they have armed Iran to the teeth. The big question: How many of these weapons does Iran have? I would suggest thousands, and that this is the real show.
    The Sunburn is perhaps the most lethal anti-ship missile in the world, designed to fly as low as 9 feet above ground/water at more than 1,500 miles per hour (mach 2+). The missile uses a violent pop-up maneuver for its terminal approach to throw off Phalanx and other U.S. anti-missile defense systems. Given their low cost, they’re perfectly suited for close quarter naval conflict in the bathtub-like Persian Gulf.

    The Sunburn is versatile, and can be fired from practically any platform, including just a flat bed truck. It has a 90-mile range, which is all that is necessary in the small Persian Gulf and 40-mile-wide Strait of Hormuz. Fired from shore a missile could hit a ship in the Strait in less than a minute. It presents a real threat to the U.S. Navy. Tests using the Aegean and RAM ship defense technology stops the Sunburn 95% of the time, but such testing was done in open seas, not a bathtub. The payload hit with a 750-pound conventional warhead can be witnessed at 1:53-1:57 in this video. Not enough to sink a carrier, but it could take down smaller capital ships and crew.

    You don’t have to be Hannibal preparing for the Battle of Cannae to see that the Strait is a potential shooting gallery. Without a doubt, Iran has plotted and mapped every firing angle and location along the Gulf, their home-court coastline. This is going to put enormous interdiction pressure on U.S. warplanes to spot and destroy platforms, which may be as simple as a flat-bed truck. In reality, Iran has dug in from Jask in the east to Bandar in the west and can easily cover any ship, commercial or military, traversing the narrow Strait.

    Equally disturbing is Iran’s missile range for the entire Persian Gulf. Bahrain itself could be hit by the longer-range version of the Sunburn, the Onyx. Is the U.S. (which has three aircraft carrier groups in play currently) going to stick around or clear out to the Oman Sea, leaving control of the oil lanes to Iran? Or will they stay and slug it out with the Iranians? If so, at what cost? Iran’s strategic advantage may mean some losses for the 5th Fleet, if this gets played out on Iran’s home court.

The Strait of Hormuz. Killing field for the SS-N-22 Sunburn missiles!


September 19, 2012 - Posted by | GeoPolitics, Science & Technology | , , , , , , , ,


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    • It would be great to find out if that Sunburn can give the Americans a nice tan !!!!!

      Comment by usuckask | November 6, 2012

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