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Jun 17, 2022
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Supersonic “Onyx” cuts Ukrainian air defense like a butter knife

In the photo: the Bastion coastal missile system launched the Oniks missile at the military infrastructure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In the photo: the Bastion coastal missile system launched the Onyx missile at the military infrastructure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. (Photo: Press Service of the RF Ministry of Defense/TASS)

According to the press service of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, during a special military operation, Bastion coastal missile systems deployed in Crimea and equipped with Onyx supersonic missiles destroyed dozens of ground targets in Ukraine. At the same time, the P-800 Onyx missiles freely overcame the areas of responsibility of the Ukrainian air defense, equipped with the S-300PS Favorit systems.

Being one of the key elements of the echeloned coastal defense of the RF Armed Forces, the Bastion ballistic missile system is capable of effectively destroying sea and ground targets at ranges of up to three hundred kilometers. It can be integrated into a single coastal defense circuit, effectively interacting with the Utes silo-based anti-ship operational-tactical complex and the 3K60 Bal coastal missile system. As a result of this synergy, a space is formed that is defined by the military doctrine of the North Atlantic Alliance as A2 / D2 or “a zone of restriction and prohibition of access and maneuver.” That is, a guaranteed deprivation of the enemy of the opportunity to conduct any threatening actions.

The Belarusian platform MZKT-7930 is used as the chassis of the Bastion DBK. The maximum ammunition load of the complex is 24 3M55 Onyx supersonic cruise anti-ship missiles, better known to our foreign partners in the field of military-technical cooperation as Yakhont.

The main goal of developing the P-800 Onyx supersonic anti-ship missile was to create an alternative to the three anti-ship missiles created back in Soviet times. Moreover, each of them 3M55 had to surpass in a certain set of technical and operational characteristics: the winged P-700 “Granit” (3M45) – in terms of weight and size parameters, the low-altitude P-270 “Moskit” (3M80) – in terms of flight path and universality of the type of launch , and P-120 “Malachite” (4K85) – in terms of flight speed and weight and size characteristics.

The 3M55 anti-ship missile system has successfully implemented the “fire and forget” principle, which allows the DBK combat crew to change the firing position immediately after launch, minimizing the risk of a retaliatory strike. And the record interval for this type of missiles between missile launches in salvo launch mode, which is 2.5 seconds, provides an excellent opportunity to attack formations from several ships, including aircraft carrier strike groups.

The main advantages of the Onyx should be the absolute autonomy of combat use, a powerful warhead and high flight speed, which makes it difficult to intercept it not only by the currently in service, but also by the prospective air defense systems of a potential enemy.

The 3M55 missile is, without exaggeration, unique. Our sworn West Atlantic partners can only dream of supersonic anti-ship missiles with Onyx characteristics. That is why the US military-industrial complex is tirelessly and with minimal success modernizing the UGM / RGM / AGM-84 Harpoon, developed more than half a century ago and put into service in the distant 1977.

Over the past few years, information has periodically been leaked to the media about ongoing work as part of the modernization program for the P-800 Onyx anti-ship missiles. And although the flight and technical characteristics of the product are kept secret, which is quite natural, some information still becomes public. So, according to a source close to the manufacturer, the update will affect structural materials, software and element-component base.

In an interview with one of the leaders of the manufacturing enterprise, it was noted that in the future, the Bastion coastal missile system will be able to use ammunition flying at hypersonic speeds. That is, to hit objects at much greater ranges. According to the specialist, this development of events fully reflects the global trends in the development of modern missile weapons, aimed primarily at increasing the flight speed to hypersonic values, range and universality of action against targets. As well as uniformity in terms of carriers.

Externally, the modernized coastal complexes may resemble the Bastion that exists today, although, given the overall dimensions of the Zircon, the number of missiles on the platform will be limited. However, this shortcoming can be compensated by the number of launchers in the coastal defense battery. Depending on the preferences of the main customer – the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation – enterprises of the domestic military-industrial complex can carry out them both in a stationary and in a mobile version.

Thus, it can be stated that the Russian military-industrial complex has managed to create one of the most effective coastal anti-ship missile systems in the world. In addition, the Bastion missile defense system has an amazing modernization potential, and the improvement of its combat capabilities can be ensured both by the development of fundamentally new missiles and by an increase in the noise immunity index, the speed of information processing and exchange.

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