Raduga Kh-55

Raduga Kh-55

The Raduga Kh-55 "Granat" ( _ru. Х-55 Гранат (Granat), NATO reporting name AS-15 'Kent') is a Soviet/ Russian subsonic long-range cruise missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. It was designed by MKB Raduga, partially in response to U.S. cruise missiles in the same class (particularly the BGM-109 Tomahawk and AGM-86 missiles). Designed to be launched either from bomber aircraft or from submarines, it was built to carry a conventional or nuclear warhead of up to a 200 kiloton yield over a range of up to 3,000 km (1,860 miles).

The Kh-55, also known by the design bureau designation Izdeliye 120 and special unclassified name RKV-500A (for use in international agreements), first flew in 1978, entering production in 1981, with service entry of the original model (NATO 'Kent-A') in 1983. It is powered by a single R95-300 turbofan engine, with pop-out wings for cruising efficiency. It flies at subsonic speeds at low levels (under 110 m/300 ft altitude). Guidance is by inertial navigation.

An upgrade version, Kh-55SM (NATO 'Kent-B', "Kh-55OK/izdeliye 121", "RKV-500B"), entered production in 1986. It has TERCOM (Terrain Contour Matching) navigation, with periodic position updates by comparing terrain images taken by onboard Doppler radar against maps stored in the onboard computer. The Kh-55Sm has additional fuel tanks, extending range from 2,500 km to 3,000 km.

A naval version of the Kh-55, 3K-10 Granat, was developed in parallel, apparently for submarine use.

The Kh-55 is carried by the Tupolev Tu-95 and Tupolev Tu-160.


The small, winged Kh-55 missile is powered by a turbofan jet engine that propels it at sustained subsonic speeds and can be launched from both high and low altitudes. After launch, the missile's folded wings, tail surfaces and engine deploy. It is guided through a combination of an inertial guidance system plus a terrain contour-matching guidance system which uses radar and images stored in the memory of an onboard computer to find its target. This allows the missile to guide itself to the target with a high degree of accuracy, with a reported CEP of 15 meters.


Two air-launched versions of the missile exist (Kh-55 and Kh-55SM, while Kh-55-OK is development name of Kh-55SM), launched from Tupolev Tu-95 (up to 6 missiles on the Tu-95MS6 and 16 missiles on the Tu-95MS16) and Tupolev Tu-160 (up to 12 missiles) bomber aircraft.

Common misconception:

:In addition, the Soviet Navy was equipped with a sea-launched variant, known by NATO as SS-N-21 Sampson, which was installed on submarines of the Akula, Victor III, Yankee Notch and Sierra classes. A land-launched variant, the RK-55 (NATO: SSC-X-4), was also developed. The Governmental Decision of 08 December 1976 has authorized development of three types of cruise missiles: for army, navy, and air force. No unification was taken into consideration due to significantly different requirements. Sverdlovsk NPO "Novator" was directed to create naval and land-based missiles ("Granat" and "Relief" respectively, they were close enough to each other), while airborn missile (future Kh-55) was assigned to Dubna MKB "Raduga". ["Aviation and Cosmonautics" magazine, September 2005, page 46.] The SSC-X-4 variant was subject to the INF treaty and all 86 examples were eliminated by explosive demolition in the presence of US inspectors at the Soviet base in Jelgava, Latvia in the fall 1988.


The Kh-55 was developed in the 1970s as a direct counterpart to the US AGM-86, with a very similar design and capabilities. Prototypes were tested in 1978 before the weapon was accepted into service in 1984.


*: the Soviet Air Force deployed the Kh-55 as its original operator. The Strategic Rocket Forces employed a land-based variant of the RK-55 until its scrapping in the 1980s. The Soviet Navy deployed the submarine-based variant of the RK-55 aboard various submarines.
*: the Russian Air Force uses the Kh-55, and the Russian Navy uses the submarine variant.
*: Sold to Russia and Iran [http://www.tass.ru/eng/level2.html?NewsID=1843879&PageNum=0]
*IRN: the Iranian military is reported to have acquired at least 12 of these cruise missiles from Ukraine. [ [http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/02/12/iran_is_prepared_to_retaliate_experts_warn/ Iran is prepared to retaliate, experts warn - The Boston Globe ] ]

General characteristics

:Primary function: Strategic cruise missile, air/land/sea launched:Contractor: Raduga OKB / M. I. Kalinin Machine Building Plant:Length: 8.09 m (26 ft 7 in):Weight: 1,700 kg (3,750 lb):Diameter: Kh-55: 0.514 m (1 ft 8 in), Kh-55SM: 0.77 m (2 ft 6 in):Wingspan: 3.1 m (10 ft 2 in):Range: Kh-55: 2,500 km (1,550 miles), Kh-55SM: 3,000 km (1,860 miles):Speed: 571 to 917 km/h (Mach 0.48-0.77, 355 to 570 mph):Guidance System: Inertial navigation element with terrain contour-matching system:Warheads: 200 kt nuclear:Date deployed: 1984

pecifications (Kh-55SM)

* Length: 6.04 m (19 ft 7 in)
* Width: 0.77 m
* Diameter: 514 mm (20.24 in)
* Wingspan: 3.10 m (10 ft 1 in)
* Launch weight: 1185 kg
* Warhead: 200 kt nuclear
* Guidance: inertial with Doppler radar/terrain map updates
* Maximum speed: 720..830 km/h, approximately Mach 0.77
* Range: 3,000 km (1,860 mi) (Kh-55: 2500 km)
* Accuracy (CEP): unknown
* Launch altitude: 200 m .. 10 km


* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/russia/as-15.htm GlobalSecurity.org - Kh-55 Granat information]
* [http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/bomber/as-15.htm AS-15 KENT]
* [http://www.tass.ru/eng/level2.html?NewsID=1843879&PageNum=0 "Ukraine admits delivering cruise missiles to Iran, China"] , ITAR-TASS, 18 March 2005

External links

* [http://www.worldweapon.ru/sam/x55.php Info at worldweapon.ru (in Russian, has good pics at the bottom)]
* [http://www.strategycenter.net/research/pubID.112/pub_detail.asp Bypassing the NMD: China and the Cruise Missile Proliferation Problem]

ee also

Tu-95MS -
Tu-160 -
Granat -
similar aircraft=
AGM-129 ACM-
Kh-15 -K-20/Kh-20 -K-22/Kh-22 -K-26/KSR-5 -Kh-55
* List of military aircraft of the Soviet Union and the CIS

see also=

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