A cruise missile being fired from a submerged submarine (Photo by Vadim Savitskiy/Russia's Defense Ministry press service/TASS)

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.

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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.


Source: TASS

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  1. I think the main target-client is India : considering the equipment of recent Russian ships, they really look like standardising the Kalibr rather than the older Oniks as main cruise missile. Oniks/BrahMos is ramjet powered and does its full supersonic flightpath, the Indian version bing even faster (Mach4 in altitude). Oniks-M being “faster” it’s obvious it goes closer to BrahMos…
    So, why do I think it’s more for export?
    Kalibr does most of its flight as subsonic and only will boost close to Mach3 during the terminal attack phase. At the same time, it has more than the double warhead (450kg instead of 200kg), range is about 2,500km for the latest version, and you fit 4 Kalibr in a VLS cell where you may only fit a single Oniks/Brahmos.
    Add to this that Kalibr is cheaper, lighter and can be launched through torpedo tubes.
    It’s very likely our Russian friends will transfer the near-full production in India while coming with constant upgrades to keep revenues from the Joint-Venture and other clients (Indonesia, Syria, Vietnam).
    Maybe a question of taste, but personally, I’d go for Kalibr alone and opt for 4x more missiles with double warhead and 3x more range.