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AFM-L Alfa
3M-51 Alfa P-900

The P-900 Alfa [industrial code 3M-51 ] is a version of the Granat [SS-N-19 SHIPWRECK] carrying a supersonic [Mach 2.5] final attack stage. There is some confusion as to whether the SS-N-27 designation applies to this missile, or to the Klub [industrial code 3M-54, also known as Alfa] , although the best evidence suggests that the 3M-54 Alfa is the SS-N-27, rather than the 3M-51 Alfa.

The first information about the Alfa or officially AFM-L air-to-water missile built by the Scientific-Industrial Association "Mashinostroyeniye" [Machine Construction] (formerly V. Chelomey's Special Design Bureau since 1984 directed by G. Yefremov) was given at the Abu Dabi exhibition in February 1993, and in August 1993 a full-size model of this new missile was displayed in Zhukovskiy. It has a folding wing and four stabilizers aft. During the first flight stage, covering about 200 km, the missile is propelled by a turbojet engine and flies at a subsonic speed of 220-240 m/s approaching the target, whereupon a rocket engine kicks in which accelerates it to 700 m/s.

NPO Mashinostroenie continues the development of the Alfa universal supersonic cruise missile that can be adopted for service in five to six years. The missile is being developed in submarine, ship, air and coastal-launched variants. As an airborne variant, Alfa will first join the armament options for the Su-34 or Su-32FN (NATO: Flanker) attack aircraft. The ship, submarine and coastal-launched variants of the Alfa have take-off weight of 2,600 kg (5,730 lb.) and warhead weight of 300 kg. (661 lb.). The Alfa air-launched variant has take-off weight of 1,600 kg. (3,527 lb.). With the exception of the airborne variant, the missile is fired from a standard transport-launching container (TLC).

Alexey Ramm, special to Russia Beyond the Headlines [RBTH] reported in October 2014 that the Russian fleet was to receive a "secret" new cruise missile. Nothing is currently known publicly about the name, index, or even any of the tactical and technical characteristics of the new product. The rocket, the technical characteristics of which remain classified, had passed state testing and would soon enter into the service of Russia’s armed forces. Military experts speculated that it could be a completely new development by Russian designers, as well as a product upgrade based on a rocket already in use such as the P-800 Onyx, better known under its export designation of Yakhont (“Ruby”).

In September 2014, state testing was completed on Russia’s newest cruise missile, which had been developed by NPO Mashinostroyenia, part of the Tactical Missiles Corporation. According to the general director of NPO Mashinostroyenia, Alexander Leonov, the new missile was designed for the Russian Navy and, in addition to the completion of state testing of the rocket itself, two sets of ground-based and sea-based missiles had also successfully passed state testing.

According to Dmitry Kornev, the chief editor of the internet project, despite all of the secrecy surrounding the recently tested missile, it was already possible to make some assumptions about the product in question. New product or upgrade? “It could be a fundamentally new missile, possibly hypersonic. One should not forget that NPO Mashinostroyenia has been actively working in this area, and it was not too long that ago mockups of the joint Russian-Indian hypersonic rocket BrahMos-II appeared at exhibitions,” Kornev told RBTH.

Also, in Kornev's estimation, this could be about the modernization of a missile already in service. In this case, a new, more accurate control system created using modern components and computational algorithms has probably been installed. It is also possible that the so-called homing device has been replaced," suggested Kornev. In his opinion, if the missile is an upgraded product, then it is most likely to be based on the P-800 Onyx, better known under its export designation of Yakhont. The best-known of the supersonic missiles produced by the NPO for the global market, it served as the model for the development of the joint Russian-Indian BrahMos supersonic missile system and the Bastion coastal missile system.

A new strategic concept "The so-called ‘diversified forces’ operational concept, when the fleet's actions are supported not only by aviation but also by a grouping of ground forces, is currently being developed in the Russian Navy,” Dmitry Boltenkov, an independent military expert and one of the authors of the book Russia's New Army, told RBTH.

Russian submarines armed with new lethal ballistic missile “Land and sea-based missile systems are playing a big role in the activities of the ‘diversified forces’. They are capable not only of hitting the enemy's ships with accurate strikes but also of destroying its ground targets," he said. According to Boltenkov, putting the new universal missile system into the service of the military will significantly enhance the power of the Russian Navy.

At the same time, both experts noted that even though the facts about the new product are still a secret, it is already possible to presume that the new rocket has the potential for export. Export potential Several countries, in particular Vietnam and Indonesia, purchase Russian missile systems, both sea and land-based, with the Yakhont missile. The Vietnamese Yakhonts that are supplied as part of the Bastion coastal missile system are, according to some reports, capable of hitting both sea and land-based targets. As Boltenkov pointed out, the Soviet coastal missile systems Sopka ("Volcano") and Rubezh ("Borderline") were supplied to more than 10 countries around the world and were used several times in the course of military confrontations, for example, in the Arab-Israeli conflicts.

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Page last modified: 06-10-2014 18:46:16 ZULU