Anti-ship missile

Anti-ship missile

Anti-ship missiles are a missile designed for use against ships. Most anti-ship missiles are of the sea-skimming type and use a combination of inertial guidance and radar homing. These missiles can be launched from a variety of platforms including ships, aircraft (including helicopters), land vehicles and submarines.

The typical acronym for the phrase is ASM, but AShM can also be used to avoid confusion with air-to-surface missiles and anti-submarine missiles.


Anti-ship missiles were among the first instances of short range guided missiles during the Second World War. The German Luftwaffe used Fritz X and others to some effect against Allied shipping and sank or damaged a number of large warships successfully before the Allies devised countermeasures (principally radio jamming).

During the cold war, the USSR found that it could not match the NATO alliance in surface ships and aircraft carriers. As such, the USSR turned to a sea-denial strategy concentrating on submarines, mines, and anti-ship missiles. One of the first products of the decision was the SS-N-2 Styx missile. Further products were to follow and soon found the in the aircraft launched KS-1 Komet carried by Tu-95 Bear and Tu-22 Badger bombers. In 1967 the Israeli Navy destroyer "Eilat" was sunk by a Styx missile launched by Egyptian missile boats off the Sinai Peninsula.

1973's Battle of Latakia was the site of the world's first combat between anti-ship missile-equipped missile boats. In it, the Israeli navy destroyed the Syrian ships without suffering any damage, using ECM.

Anti-ship missiles were used in the 1982 Falklands War. HMS "Sheffield", a 4,820 ton Type 42 Destroyer was struck by a single air-launched Exocet missile and later sank as a result of damage sustained. The container ship "Atlantic Conveyor" was also sunk by an Exocet, while HMS "Glamorgan" was damaged. "Glamorgan" was struck by an MM38 missile launched from an improvised trailer-based launcher taken from the destroyer ARA "Comodoro Seguí" by Argentine Navy technicians. [ [ An interview with CL (R) Ing. Julio Pérez, chief designer of Exocet trailer-based launcher es icon] ] , but was able to take avoiding manoeuvres that lessened the damage inflicted.

In 1987, a US Navy guided-missile frigate, the USS Stark, was hit by an Exocet ASM fired by an Iraqi Mirage F-1. The Stark was damaged but was able to make it to a friendly port for repair. The next year, ASMs were fired by both US and Iranian forces in Operation Praying Mantis in the Persian Gulf. During this naval battle, several Iranian warships were hit by US ASMs (and by Standard SAMs doing double-duty in this role). Also, in October 1987, "Sungari", an American-owned tanker under the Liberian flag and a Kuwaiti tanker under the US flag, the "Sea Isle City", were hit by Iranian HY-2 missiles.

During Operation Praying Mantis, the US Navy hit the Iranian light frigate IS Sahand with 3 Harpoon missiles, 4 AGM-123 Skipper rocket-propelled bombs, a Walleye laser-guided bomb, and several 1,000 lb bombs. Despite the large number of munitions and successful hits, the 1,540 ton IS Sahand did not sink until fire reached its munitions magazine, causing it to explode. [] However, in the same engagement, US warships fired 3 RIM-66 Standard missiles at an Iranian corvette - the corvette sunk low enough in the water that a Harpoon missile arriving several minutes later had nothing to lock on to.

In 2006, Hezbollah forces fired an ASM (probably a Chinese C-802 or C-701) at the Israeli corvette INS Hanit, inflicting damage but the ship made it back to Israel. A second missile in this salvo sunk an Egyptian merchant ship, as well.



Countermeasures against anti-ship missiles include:
* Anti-missile missiles (such as the Sea Sparrow, SA-N-6 Grumble, SA-N-9 Gauntlet, RAM, Standard or Sea Wolf missile)
* Anti-aircraft guns such as the Mk. 45 or the AK-130
* Close-in weapon systems (CIWS)
* Electronic warfare (such as SLQ-32)
* Decoy systems (such as "chaff" and "flares")

Modern stealth ships – or ships that at least employ some stealth technology – to reduce the risk of detection and to make them harder target by the missile itself. These passive countermeasures include:
* reduction of their radar cross section (RCS) and hence radar signature.
* limit a ship's infra-red and acoustic signature.

Examples include the Norwegian Skjold class patrol boats, Swedish Visby class corvettes, the US Arleigh Burke class destroyers and the French La Fayette class frigates.


ee also

* List of anti-ship missiles

External links

* [ Warship Vulnerability (tabulated shipping losses)]
* [ List of SSSR/Russian anti-ship missiles]

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