Cruise Missiles- World's top 5 deadliest cruise missile

Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a larger warhead over long distances with high precision. Modern cruise missiles are capable of traveling at supersonic or high subsonic speeds. Cruise missiles are self-navigating and are able to fly on a non-blastic extremely low altitude trajectory making them hard to detect. From the Iraq war to recent attacks on Syria, Cruise missiles played a vital role. In this blog defence talks looks up the top 5 cruise missiles in the world.



Storm Shadow

Storm Shadow
is a British, French, and Italian low absorbable air-launch cruise missile. It is manufactured by MBDA. The missiles have a range of approximately 560 km (300  nautical miles). This cruise missile is powered by a turbojet, which enables it to travel at Mach 0.8. The missile is intended to trike high-valued assets such as airbases, radar installation, communication hubs, and surface ships. The Storm Shadow is capable of engaging the targets precisely in any weather conditions, during day and night.

The long-range and low altitude combined with high subsonic speed makes it very effective. The missiles follow a path semi-autonomously, on a low flight path guided y GPS and terrain mapping to the target area. Close to the target, the missiles climb and then moves into a dive. This missile is fitted with a two-stage bomb royal ordnance augmented charge blast penetrator warhead. The first stage of the warhead makes the way for the second stage by cutting the surface of the target. The larger second stage main warhead then penetrates into the target and detonated.



The Tomahawk land attack missile is a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile that is primarily used by the United States and the United Kingdom. The missile went its service in 1983 and it has been upgraded several times with many enhancement, which includes guidance systems for precision navigation. The latest variant is Block 4 introduced in 2006 has a range of 1,700 km (1000 miles).

It can carry different types of payload, which includes high explosive or nuclear warhead. Tomahawk Block 4 adds a strike controller that can change the missile in flight to one of is pre-programmed alternate targets. This targeting flexibility includes the capability to loiter over the battlefield awaiting a more critical target. The missile can also transmit battle damage indication imagery and missile health and status messages via the two-way satellite data link. Block 4 also has an improved anti-jam GPS receiver for enhanced mission performance.



The P-800 ONIKS (Yakhont) is a Russian supersonic cruise missile developed by NPO Mashinostroyeniya. It is very much like the Moskit missile that is replaced, albeit slightly smaller. It carries a 550-pound warhead and tops out at about Mach 2.6. The Navigation System includes both inertial guidance and active-passive radar seeker head, which makes the missiles essentially autonomous once its lanched as well as very accurate.

It has a firing range up to 300 km (186 miles) with the ability to skim along less than 30 feet above the sea surface. It is touted to even posses onboard EW countermeasure, making it very hard to jam. It carries a 250 kg (551 lb) semi-armor piercing High explosive warhead. Recently the missiles were used in Syria. It was launched at a rebel-held warehouse that as per Russia was being used to store the weapon.

2. 3M-54 KALIBER (Russia)


The 3M-54 Kaliber is an anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles developed by the Novator Design Bureau of Russia. The missile is a modular system with five versions: two anti-shipping types, one for land attack and two for anti-submarine types. The missile is designed to share common parts between the surface and submarine-launched variants but each missile consists of different components, for example, booster.

The missile can be launched from a surface ship using a vertical launch system (VLS). It has a booster with thrust vectoring capability. The missile launched from a submarine torpedo tube has no need for such an addition but has a conventional booster instead. The air-launched version is held in a container that is dropped and the missile launches detecting from the container.

The missile flies at sub-sonic speed but performs a supersonic sprint in the terminal approach to the target, reducing the time that the target's defence system has to react. The anti-ship variant has a range of 660 km whereas the land-attack version has claimed range of 2500 km. It can carry 500 kg conventional or nuclear warhead. It is also capable of performing very high angled defencive high maneuvers.

1. BrahMos ( India & Russia)

Brahmos is a joint venture between India and Russia federation's NPO Mashinostroyeniya and India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), who together have formed BrahMos Aerospace.

It is the world's fastest cruise missile in operation and flies at about Mach 3 that is three times the speed of sound. It has a two-stage propulsion system with a solid-propellent rocket for initial acceleration and a liquid-fulled ramjet responsible for the sustained supersonic cruise. This speed gives it lots of kinetic energy to obliterate the target. In tests, BrahMos has ripped off ships in half.

The missile has a current developed range of 450 km but its actual range is much higher as per many analysts. It carries a 200 kg(440 lb) conventional semi-armor piercing and a nuclear warhead. BrahMos is very accurate, during one the test, the missile was able to distinguish between groups of buildings in an urban environment and hit the designated target. Also, it is the only cruise missile in the world that can maneuver at supersonic speed.

The Block 3 missile can dive on the target from the top at an angle of 75 degrees. The missile can be launched in a number of ways. It can be launched from land when mounted on a truck, from navy ships, and from fighter jets means air launch. Indian Airforce is currently using all the variant of the BrahMos.

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