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P-70 Ametiste 4K-66
SS-N-7 Starbright

From circa 1960 the Soviet Navy was tasked to engage US carrier groups which might launch nuclear attacks upon the Soviet homeland. Initially submarines assigned this anti-ship task were armed with a mixture of torpedoes and Progress (SS-N-3 'Shaddock) but the latter could be launched only on the surface which posed serious operational problems. This led to a requirement for an anti-ship missile which could be launched from under water.

The missile, apparently given the Russian name Ametist (possibly P-120), was selected for the new Project 670 Atomic-Powered Cruise Missile Submarines ('Charlie I' class) which were laid down from 1967, although the missile itself is rocket-powered. It entered service circa 1968 and was given the NATO code-name of SS-N-7 'Starbright'. Externally SS-N-7 'Starbright' is of cylindrical shape with a sharply pointed nose and a prominent reinforcing member or wiring duct along the underside of the body. There are short, folding, swept-back (1200) wings midway up the body in the rear half and three rear-facing cooling ducts around the wing leading edge; one on top of the body and the others on the sides underneath the wings. The rear of the missile has a prominent clipped delta tail on the underside and two smaller, trapezoid-shaped stabilizers in V configuration at the top. Twin booster packs are fitted to the rear sides of the missile. It is believed to be capable of carrying a payload of 1170-lb a distance of about 30 nm. It is possible this missile uses the same hollow-charge warhead as the Proygress (SS-N-2 'Styx') missile.

The SS-N-7 was intended to replace the high altitude, relatively slow SS-N-3, which was vulnerable to air defenses in flight and used a radar seeker that was vulnerable to jamming and deception measures. The shorter range of the SS-N-7 compared to the SS-N-3 reduced the flight time of the missile and eliminated the need for mid-course guidance. This eliminated the need for a guidance radar on the submarine, which allowed a fire and forget submerged launch.

It is believed that about 200 'Starbright' and 500 'Siren' missiles were produced but that production has now ceased.



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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:50:06 ZULU