Cruise missiles, unlike ballistic missiles,have load-bearing elements (wings), hence their name. In a simplistic way, they are a combination of a conventional rocket and an aircraft. It is a precision weapon capable of maneuvering and covering long distances. It was created to destroy objects protected even by air defense systems, and it copes with this task quite successfully. For the first time, such missiles began to be used by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Even then, they showed high efficiency. Unlike conventional rockets, they fly at low subsonic speeds. Their advantage lies in stealth, high accuracy, the ability to radically change the flight path, as well as a number of other features. A striking example of such a weapon is the Russian Caliber cruise missile, which we will talk about later.
"Caliber" rocket - a brief history
The Caliber cruise missiles are based on twoSoviet project - the 3M10 strategic nuclear cruise missile, which began to be developed back in the mid-70s, and the project as part of the Alfa (Turquoise) anti-ship missile competition.
The 3M10 rocket could not be completed due tothe planned treaty on intermediate and shorter range missiles. Only one Yakhont supersonic anti-ship missile took part in the Biryuza design and development competition. However, it turned out to be too expensive, and its development was delayed for a long time. As a result, none of the projects in the first half of the 80s was implemented, as a result of which the work continued. Subsequently, there was an attempt to create a sea rocket, but the selection committee refused it because of too low (subsonic) speed.
A new version of the rocket, which had a finishsupersonic accelerator, appeared in 1990. The very first rockets of the Caliber family were shown to the public at the MAKS-93 exhibition in 1993. Currently, the Kalibr missile system is in service with the Russian Navy. Surface ships, submarines, and aircraft are armed with these missiles.
America also accused Russia of creatingland version of the complex. Recall that the presence of such weapons is contrary to the INF Treaty, since the range of missiles exceeds 500 km. However, there is no supporting information about the existence of the Kalibr land systems yet.
I must say that in 2018 appearedinformation on the development of a more modern ship-based missile "Kolibr-M". It will surpass the previous family of missiles in terms of firing range twice. In addition, other parameters will be changed, including dimensions. The new missiles are expected to be larger.
What are the characteristics of the rocket caliber?I must say that for certain all the parameters of this weapon are unknown. According to some reports, the missiles are capable of firing at sea targets at a distance of up to 375 km, and at ground targets up to 2,600 km. True, other sources claim that the range of the missile does not exceed 2000 km.
As we said above, “Caliber” is a familymissiles with different characteristics. Their length is from 6.2 to 8.2 meters. Weight ranges from 1200 to 2300 kg. In this case, the mass of the warhead can be from 200 to 450 kg. High-explosive warhead.
Combined targeting system -inertial combined with satellite navigation. For attacking ground targets, there is also a visual orientation to the terrain. According to the characteristics, the guidance system and some other parameters, the Caliber resemble the American Tomahawk cruise missiles. Therefore, they are also called "domestic Tomahawks".
Why is the Caliber rocket difficult to shoot down
Rockets "Caliber", like any other cruiserockets are compact. They are much smaller than the aircraft, which makes them more difficult to defeat. However, they are distinguished by high maneuverability and the ability to fly at very low altitudes. As a result, they are often invisible to radar systems. In addition, we have already said earlier that missiles use all sorts of tricks to remain unnoticed by air defense systems.
In addition, missiles can simply fly aroundair defense systems. Therefore, for many countries, cruise missiles are one of the main tools for destroying enemy targets protected by air defense.
Is it possible to reliably defend against such missiles?No modern anti-missile or air defense system can provide 100% protection against missiles. However, a multi-layered defense, consisting of air defense systems designed to destroy such missiles, can increase the degree of protection. That is, air defense systems should overlap each other's zones. In this case, there are no gaps that cruise missiles can take advantage of.
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But even in this case, it is hardly possible to speak of a high reliability of protection. Modern air defense systems sometimes cannot cope even with the defeat of fairly old ballistic missiles, such as Tochka-U.