Russia’s Research and Production Association of Machine-Building has developed a sea-launched cruise missile with the 800km range capability and the increased accuracy of striking naval and ground targets, with its flight tests to begin in coming months, two sources in the defense industry told TASS on Wednesday.
“The operational Oniks cruise missile has been used as the basis to develop a new version, the Oniks-M, with the 800km maximum range capability,” one of the sources told TASS.
As the source specified, “the missile is outfitted with the improved control system and will be capable of striking both naval and ground targets with greater accuracy.” Also, the missile’s protection against electronic counter-measures has been improved, the source added.
Another source in the defense industry told TASS that the new missile’s flight development tests were expected to begin in the first ten-day period of September at the Northern Fleet’s practice range in the Barents Sea. Several areas of the sea were closed specially for these tests to ensure the safety of shipping and flights by passenger planes, “however, no launches were carried out due to the need to hold additional checks of the missile’s prototypes.”
According to the source, the upgraded missile, like the baseline Oniks version, is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads. The Oniks-M has its maximum speed and also its weight and dimensions similar to the baseline version.
The Research and Production Association, which has developed the Oniks missile, declined to comment on the information provided by the sources.
Oniks Cruise Missile
The Research and Production Association of Machine-Building earlier unveiled plans to improve the Oniks missile’s characteristics but gave no details.
“Yes, we proposed improving the flight characteristics of Oniks missiles to raise the efficiency of this anti-ship system,” the company’s spokesperson told TASS on September 13.
According to the producer’s data, the export version of the Oniks missile (the Yakhont) has the 300km range capability. The missile can develop a speed of Mach 2.5 at a high altitude and its conventional warhead weighs 250 kg.
The work on the P-800 anti-ship system with the Oniks missile started in 1982. The missile complex went into operation in 2002. Russia mounts these missile systems on its surface ships and submarines. For example, the Project 885 lead multipurpose submarine Severodvinsk carries these missiles.
The Oniks has been used as the basis to develop the Russian-Indian BrahMos cruise missile.
Indian Head of BrahMos Aerospace Joint Venture Sudhir Kumar Mishra told TASS at the MAKS-2019 international air show that it was technically possible to increase the missile’s range to 800km.