Top 5 most devastating Anti-Ship missiles

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After a decade of rapid innovation, the end of the cold war and subsequent global war in terror all but halted the development of the anti-ship missile in the west and around the world. The focus on the land operation in middle ease and central Asia send western navy struggling for relevance as a result navy adopted an emphasis toward supporting land force in operating in the combat zone.

For the most part, ship to ship warfare was reduced to 9000 Ton Destroyer confronting a 2 Ton Pirate skiff.

somalia pirate vs destroyer us navy

And let’s not even talk about the irrelevance of the humongous Battleships and aircraft carriers and the great Russian Akula class of subs.

The USA’s legendry seventh fleet had become nothing more than a mere ferry ride to take solders in and out of war zone and a tool to intimidate countries.

But in the recent past rising tension among the global military power such as the USA, North Korea, Russia, China, India. The ship to ship naval warfare is back and with it the need to reach out and sink enemy ships.

War grounds of future

A new generation of the anti-ship missiles “ASM” is on the horizon. Stealthy, Supersonic, and Autonomous these missiles are adapted at evading enemy defenses and hunting enemy ships.

Let’s have a look at some of the most interesting ASM

1. BrahMos


BrahMos began in the 1990s as a joint project between Russia and India to develop an Indian version of the P-800 Oniks cruise missile. The missile’s name is a portmanteau of the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva in India and Russia, respectively.

Cruise missiles are designed to be fired at long ranges from their targets so as not to expose the launching platform to enemy retaliation. The quintessential cruise missile is the Tomahawk, developed in the United States. Fired by ships and aircraft, the 2,900-pound missile can cruise up to one thousand miles (depending on the model) at a speed of five hundred miles per hour—roughly the speed of a typical airliner—before slamming into its target.

The combination of twice the weight and four times the greater speed as a Tomahawk result in vastly more kinetic energy when striking the target. Despite having a smaller warhead, the effects on impact are devastating.

Even more importantly, the BrahMos’s ability to maintain supersonic speeds while skimming at low altitude makes it very difficult to detect and intercept. To cap it off, the BrahMos performs an evasive “S-maneuver” shortly before impact, making it difficult to shoot down at close range.


LRASM is a long-range, precision-guided anti-ship missile leveraging off of the successful JASSM-ER heritage, and is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters. Armed with a penetrator and blast fragmentation warhead, LRASM employs precision routing and guidance, day or night in all weather conditions. The missile employs a multi-modal sensor suite, weapon data link, and enhanced digital anti-jam Global Positioning System to detect and destroy specific targets within a group of numerous ships at sea.

It can automatically detect and destroy target based on an uploaded profile, even among tons of ships.

What’s scarier about LRASM is that it is fully autonomous it automatically scans for ship type and based on that avoids their defenses. Also, it can automatically detect the high-value target and home in on them.

3. CLUB / 3M-54 Kalibr

An anti-ship missile used by the Rusian navy, CLUB is actually a family of weapon sharing the same airframe. The 3M-54 Kalibr, also referred to it as 3M54-1 Kalibr, 3M14 Biryuza , 91R1, 91RT2 is a group of Russian surface ship-, submarine-launched and airborne anti-ship and coastal anti ship (AShM), land attack cruise missiles (LACM) and anti-submarine missiles developed by the Novator Design Bureau (OKB-8).

Typically cruses at 0.8 mach but some varients are reported to have a second stage that performs a supersonic sprint gaining speed up to 2.8 mach in the terminal approach to the target, reducing the time that target’s defense systems have to react.

The max range of anti-ship variant is 300KM, and let’s suppose its mere coincidence that it’s maxed range is the maximum allowed for the cruise missiles.

4. XASM-3

Japan’s strictly defensive military doctrine has driven a requirement for smaller ASMs to arm ships, aircraft and ground batteries. Japan has designed and produced two generations of anti-ship missiles fitting this profile, but the third generation will likely be a radical departure from past designs.

XASM-3 is an anti-ship missile currently under joint development by the Government of Japan’s Technical Research and Development Institute and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).

XASM-3 is a supersonic missile, a solid-fueled rocket with integrated ramjet operating at speeds of up to Mach 5. The missile is designed to be stealthy. Like Brahmos, XASM-3 will use speed to limit the enemy’s reaction and engagement time. Using the same engagement parameters as Brahmos, XASM-3 will allow defenders only a 15 second reaction time.

XASM-3 has both active and passive integrated seekers. The missile weighs 1,900 pounds, with warhead size currently unknown. It is expected to have a range of 120+ miles.

5. Naval Strike Missile

A new anti-ship missile designed by Norway’s Kongsberg, the Naval Strike Missile is touted by the company as the world’s first “5th generation anti-ship missile.”

NSM utilizes a rocket booster for the initial launch, after which it transits to a turbofan engine. The missile is a sea-skimmer, appearing to travel less than 10 meters above the wavetops in videos. Speed is unreported but likely high subsonic.

Kongsberg touts the missile as “fully passive,” meaning it does not use active sensors to track targets. NSM does not emit infrared or radar waves that could be detected by enemy ships. Weighing in at 410 kilograms, NSM is smaller than other missiles on this list. The missile has a range of 185 kilometers and carries a 125 kilogram warhead.

NSM is currently in service with the Norwegian Navy’s Skjold-class missile boats and Fritjof Nansen-class destroyers. NSM is also operated by the Polish Army as coastal artillery.


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