Explained – Can The US Navy Shoot Down The Deadly BrahMos Missile?

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This is the third part of the series. We have covered introduction and detection of anti-ship missiles in general in the earlier articles. We strongly suggest you read those 2 articles before proceeding with this as it will give you a better idea of what is explained here. In this article, we will specifically deal with shooting down the famous Indo-Russian Anti-Ship missile, the BrahMos. This missile has been chosen as it is currently the fastest and probably the deadliest anti-ship missile in service. The Russian variant of BrahMos is called Onyx and the export variant is called Yakhont. Its NATO reporting name is SS-N-26 Stallion. If you want to know how these missiles work, I suggest you read my earlier article

cruise missile

Do note that no classified information is revealed in this analysis and all the data used are publicly released figures. The analysis uses logic, physics, and mathematics with the available data in order to present a general idea of how it will be to face BrahMos and measures to counter it.

The main advantages of BrahMos are

  • Mach 3 (2500-3000 km/hr) speed (which makes it very difficult to detect and track)
  • 300 kg Semi-Armor piercing warhead (which causes massive damage upon impact)
  • Very high kinetic energy on impact (which disintegrates smaller ships and cripples larger ones)
  • S-manoeuver just a few seconds before impact (which makes interception very difficult)
  • 300 km range in Hi-Lo altitude profile
  • 400+ km range in Hi-altitude profile
  • No wings (makes it harder to shoot down as winged missiles plunge into water after suffering wing damage)

The main disadvantages of BrahMos are

  • Only 120 km range when using Lo-altitude sea-skimming profile
  • Not intelligent ( can’t take evasive measures on its own to avoid interceptor missiles and follows predetermined path)

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A Salvo of BrahMos © Saurav Chordia

There is a lot of rumor that the BrahMos is impossible to shoot down. This is mainly due to the fact that NATO missile defense systems were prepared to handle Mach 1-1.5 speed Anti-Ship missiles which Russia possessed during the Cold War. But after the Mach 2-3 speed Onyx/BrahMos was developed, it surprised the western world and it is unknown what specific measures have been taken to handle this supersonic threat. But the US Navy is well prepared to protect its fleet from such a threat. The stages involved in shooting down Onyx/BrahMos using modern anti-missile systems will be explained.

Burkes of the US Navy during a SAM firing exercise

Long Range SAM

The best part of using a long range SAM to defend a ship is that you can shoot the AShM launch platform itself (aircraft) before it can fire missiles at you! Since you eliminate the source of the threat, you ensure the safety of the fleet.  Long range SAM systems are those which fall in the 80-250 km category like SM-2, SM-6, Aster 30, HQ-9, SA-N-6 Grumble (Naval S300), 9M96E (Naval S400). But let’s consider the SAMs which are most likely to face the BrahMos.

The US Navy uses the SM-2 as its standard long range SAM on its destroyers. It has a range of 90+ km and uses a semi-active homing radar seeker which means that the mechanically scanning illuminators on board the warships should provide them with guidance. This proves to be a handicap as a Burke carries 3 centrally mounted SPG-62 illuminators which will find it difficult to deal with a multi-directional missile attack. Normally, once the missile is detected at longer ranges if it is following a high altitude profile, multiple SM-2 missiles are launched to counter the threat. 2-3 SAMs are fired against subsonic threats, so it is safe to assume that 4-5 SAMs will be fired at a single incoming BrahMos missile. Again, the SM-2 wasn’t designed to handle a missile flying at 3 times the speed of sound but designed to handle Soviet missiles flying at 1-1.5 times the speed of sound. So it’s going to be a very difficult task to shoot down BrahMos, as the attacking party will launch the BrahMos ideally 120 km away from the Burke to ensure a complete sea-skimming flight and to delay detection. The SM-6 is, however, is a different case and can intercept supersonic missiles at sea-skimming altitudes and high altitudes as well. This will be a key weapon for the US Navy to defend its fleet against missiles like the BrahMos.

SM-2 being launched from the Mk41 VLS

Medium Range SAM

A Burke with its Octagonal SPY-1 radar visible

Let us consider a scenario in which a Burke class destroyer escorting a carrier battle group (CBG) is faced with a swarm of 8 BrahMos/Yakhont Anti-Ship missiles. Once the missiles are detected by the AWACS at 150+ km from the ship, the usual procedure would be to direct fighter jets from a nearby carrier towards the missile to shoot it down. But in this case, the missile is traveling at 3 times the speed of sound. Fighter jets will have 1/3 the time to react when compared to facing subsonic missiles. Hence the chances of a successful shoot down by fighters is less. But if we consider a solitary destroyer acting on its own, then the BrahMos will be detected at about 25-30 km from the ship when it is in its sea-skimming terminal phase.

Considering a salvo of 8 BrahMos and that the missile travels at 1km/sec, the Burke has about 25-30 seconds to react. Launching long-range missiles would be futile at this point because the missiles are closing in on the ship fast. The Medium range option available on the Burke is the 50 km range Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) which is quad packed and hence large quantities are available. This is very useful as one cell packs 4 MR-SAM compared to 1 LR-SAM. While intercepting supersonic anti-ship missiles, a large number of SAMs are fired to ensure successful interception. So in this case, we can consider about 16-24 ESSM ripple fired from the Burke towards the incoming missiles. We have 4 SAMs targeting each BrahMos missile and the probability of interception is ‘theoretically’ 100%. Practically, the BrahMos may break through these defenses.

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But there’s a big flaw in this if you haven’t noticed. Firing 24 ESSM takes 24 seconds, 4 ESSM will target 1 BrahMos, so 24 of these can target 6 BrahMos and by that time the last few ESSM have been fired, there are still 2 BrahMos missiles left untargeted and speeding towards the Burke. So what’s the flaw? Think ……….If 16 BrahMos missiles (the capacity of new gen Russian frigates and Indian destroyers) were fired instead of 8, the defense of the Burke would be saturated if it’s operating alone. The Phalanx CIWS and Softkill countermeasures would probably manage to counter 2 more BrahMos, but then you have 6 remaining supersonic anti-ship missiles with 300 kg semi-armor piercing warheads ramming at full speed into a 9000-ton destroyer. Hence we can assume the saturation limit for a single Burke stands at 12 BrahMos missiles approaching simultaneously. So if it goes one-on-one with a Russian frigate or Indian destroyer carrying 16 BrahMos, it’s not returning home.

US Navy Carrier Battle Group

So what did we learn from this? We learned that if a ship possesses purely medium range SAM systems, its chances of survival are very low in a modern conflict. If it faces a missile like BrahMos, its chances reduced threefold. Hence many navies are opting for a layered defense system with AEW systems to protect their expensive warships. But there will be another doubt in your mind once you’ve read this. You’ll wonder how the AEGIS, which is the best in the world can’t deal with 20-30 missiles like Brahmos and is the US Navy leaving its ships vulnerable to threats like these. The answer is yes and no.

YES, The AEGIS is the best in the world because it can combine data from every ship and aircraft radar in the fleet and draw a big picture of the surrounding airspace. It gets early data from E-2 aircraft which enables it to intercept missiles 100+ km from the fleet. And NO because even the world’s most advanced anti-missile system has a saturation limit. The exact value is not disclosed for obvious reasons, but considering a CBG will have 3 AEGIS equipped escorts in wartime, 48 fighters with 8 on Combat Air Patrol (CAP)and 2 E-2s will be airborne for providing Over The Horizon (OTH) radar coverage, the saturation limit for this CBG will be around 64 BrahMos missiles. The 300 km range of the BrahMos in mixed altitude flight and 120 km range in low altitude flight means that it cannot be fired from beyond the radar coverage of the CBG. Hence the deadliest delivery platform will be Russian Yasen subs which carry 32 Yakhont/Brahmos and can fire them while submerged. Now that we dealt with BrahMos against the famous AEGIS equipped Burke, let us see how other anti-missile systems fare against it.

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INS Kolkata carries 16 BrahMos missiles and 32 Barak-8 missiles

 

There is one specific missile which has been designed from scratch to shoot down BrahMos. It’s the Indo-Israeli Barak-8 SAM. This missile was primarily developed by Israel to equip its warships to protect them from the Yakhont missiles which its neighbor was procuring. Israeli ships carried only short range SAMs and didn’t have modern radars capable of handling a dedicated attack by its enemies using Yakhont missiles. The answer to this problem was the extremely agile and accurate Barak-8 which packed the best available technology into a medium sized missile. With a max range of 90+ km, it operates in conjunction with the MF-STAR radar which can detect sea-skimming missiles at 30-35 km range. It combined a medium range and short range missile into one missile, having a minimum engagement range of just 300 m and max of 90+ km. There are claims that a single Barak-8 can stop a BrahMos as close as 500 m from a ship. One of the reasons behind the claims is that the Barak-8 is very accurate and has an active homing radar seeker, which enables the ship to technically forget about the missile after its launch and the missile finds the target on its own although the ship does provide guidance and mid-course updates. Since the Barak-8 can have a continuous lock on the incoming missile with its own radar and the MF-STAR can guide 24 Barak-8 missiles to 12 targets simultaneously, the saturation limit for a Kolkata-class destroyer against the BrahMos stands at 12 missiles. This, however, is a contradiction in itself as the Kolkata class carries the BrahMos as well as the Barak-8. This means that

One of the reasons behind the claims is that the Barak-8 is very accurate and has an active homing radar seeker, which enables the ship to technically forget about the missile after its launch and the missile finds the target on its own although the ship does provide guidance and mid-course updates. Since the Barak-8 can have a continuous lock on the incoming missile with its own radar and the MF-STAR can guide 24 Barak-8 missiles to 12 targets simultaneously, the saturation limit for a Kolkata-class destroyer against the BrahMos stands at 12 missiles. This, however, is a contradiction in itself as the Kolkata class carries the BrahMos as well as the Barak-8. This means that the Indian Navy deploys the poison and the antidote on the same platform.

From the above analysis, don’t jump to the conclusion that the Kolkata class is equal to the Burke in missile defense role. Since the Kolkata carries just 32 Barak-8 and Burke carries 96 SAMs which can be increased to 192+ by quad packing ESSM, the Burke equals Kolkata in the saturation missile defense role against BrahMos only. The superior load of the Burke allows it to withstand sustained missile attacks with its massive missile load. The Burke has advantages and can shoot down missiles at 200 km range when paired with AEW assets, but the Kolkata can’t. In this analysis, both are considered equal as we are dealing solely with the BrahMos missile against solitary warships.

Short Range (Point Defense) SAM

If you are in a situation where you have to use a short range SAM to shoot down an anti-ship missile, then you’re already in deep trouble. It means that the hostile incoming missile has managed to evade the umbrella of defense provided by longer range SAMs. Hence they form the last line of defense. The target ship has around 5-10 seconds to react if it’s a supersonic AShM and around 20-30 seconds to react if it’s a subsonic AShM because the range of these SAMs is in the 10-15 km category. A volley of 8-12 point defense SAMs is usually fired in order to shoot down 2-3 incoming AShMs. Since the AShMs are very close to the ship, there’re no second chance available to defend itself and so the target ship fires as many missiles as possible to defend itself in this do or die situation. The popular SR-SAM systems are RAM, Barak-1, Crotale, Gauntlet (Naval Tor) etc.

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RAM

 

So how does a ship defend itself against BrahMos using short-range SAM systems? If these systems are part of a layered defense system, then they have to deal with only 1 or 2 missiles as the remaining BrahMos would have been neutralized by the longer range systems. This is a relatively simple task for systems like the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) or Barak-1 which are designed to kill sea-skimming supersonic missiles. But even these can’t handle more than 2-3 BrahMos on their own as they have a range of 10 km which gives them just a few seconds to react ad only a few missiles can be fired at that time.

So if you’re on a warship which has only a short-range SAM system for defense, and more than 2 BrahMos missiles are fired at you, your future is bleak. Your only hope is to close your eyes and accept the inevitable.

Anti-Missile Guns

Guns are extremely popular in modern day air defense systems due to their quick reaction times and the ability to shoot down targets at very short ranges. Most modern navies use Close-in Weapon Systems (CIWS) which consists of a high rate of fire gun acting on its own or combined with short-range SAM systems. Currently, the US Navy deploys Phalanx CIWS on all its destroyers. It is a closed loop system, with the search-tracking radar and the 20 mm Gatling gun and ammunition combined into a self-sustained system. It has a max range of 3 km and an effective range of 1.5 km when dealing with low flying cruise missiles.

If it faces a single BrahMos which has bypassed other missile defense layers, the radar of the Phalanx locks on to the BrahMos and unleashes a torrent of 20 mm depleted uranium projectiles which should shred the BrahMos easily. But, that’s not going to happen. The Phalanx fires at 3000 rounds per minute which translate into 50 rounds per second. Since the BrahMos flies at 1 km per sec and the effective range of Phalanx is 1.5 km, it has just 1.5 seconds to shoot down the BrahMos when the BrahMos is 1.5 km away from the ship. And since BrahMos is traveling so fast, if you shoot it less than 500 m away from your ship, its fragments will still strike your ship at high speeds and cause damage. So BrahMos has to be engaged between 500 m and 1.5 km by the Phalanx. This gives it a total firing time of 1 second. And since it needs half a second to reach the full rate of fire, only around 40 rounds can be fired in that time.

Phalanx CIWS

It doesn’t end here, BrahMos performs an S-manoeuver in its final few km of flight. This makes it extremely difficult for Phalanx to get a lock on BrahMos. It will have less than 2 seconds to lock on to a maneuvering target flying at 3 times the speed of sound. It is practically impossible for the Phalanx to shoot down BrahMos. Hence the US navy is replacing it with RAM on its bigger warships as it triples the range and gives a better chance of survival for a warship. But there is no RAM on Burkes and they have a single Phalanx only. The older variants have 2, but it’s not like it makes much of a difference. Phalanx is useful against subsonic targets and supersonic ones traveling at Mach 1-1.5. Against BrahMos, it’s useless.

The US Navy is working on a solution to this already. The answer is in their Laser CIWS system which has been operationally deployed recently. It is currently capable of shooting down slow aerial and surface targets, but with improvements, by the next decade, a laser CIWS would be widely deployed and would be capable of swatting multiple BrahMos missiles like flies. But then again, a hypersonic version of BrahMos is under development which will enter service in the next decade. Flying at Mach 5-7, it could prove to be a headache for lasers as well. But we’ll know that 10 years from now.

US Navy Shipboard Laser Weapon

CONCLUSION

The BrahMos is not an invincible missile. It is just a bigger headache for the ones at the receiving end of it.

The BrahMos is not an invincible missile. It is just a bigger headache for the ones at the receiving end of it. With a decent SAM system, you may be able to defend your ship against attacks by subsonic missiles. But to defend yourself from the BrahMos, you need an expensive, high-end, layered missile defense system. If you have powerful and networked Air Defense systems like the US Navy and the Royal Navy, you have a chance of survival. But smaller navies using basic air defense systems don’t stand a chance. Their only hope is prayer. So if you’re a warship captain, it’s always safer to be on the side which has BrahMos/Yakhont than to be on the side which has to face the BrahMos. By your bad luck, if you end up facing the BrahMos, prayer is another option.

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149 Replies to “Explained – Can The US Navy Shoot Down The Deadly BrahMos Missile?”

    1. Very good question. Their new generation of missiles, the naval S400 series of 9M96E and 3M48NE based on their Gorshkov class frigates should be able to intercept Yeh Onyx. Their current air defense systems deployed on destroyers are antiquated.

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    2. Wowwww!!! Have any of you taken a course on ecm or eccm? Is the Brahmos’ seeker freq agile. Back in the late 80s, our SLQ-32 had MORE than enough power to fry a radar. The number of PULSES needed by our 32 v3 would blow your mind. We could shoot down Kitchen and Kingfish missiles. Take a few SM-2s, maybe, but we could do it. Our ecm would softkill 2?? Man, y’all are smoking some good stuff. The post are more entertaining than anything else. Lol.

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  1. I hope the Navy comes up with a decent replacement for the F-14/Phoenix combination. It’s situations like this where you need a 120+ mile AA missile with high mach numbers, and accuracy. Hope the decision to retire them doesn’t bite us in the butt.

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    1. The F-14 + Phoenix combo is the deadliest anti-air combo the US has ever produced. The F-35 can’t take its place in anti missile role at all. The F-14 would have had an excellent chance of shooting down multiple BrahMos with its hypersonic Phoenix AAMs. But unfortunately US Navy wants ‘technology’ and not practicality.

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  2. Bravo!! …awesome article ..I was waiting for this type of article from last 5or6 months ..but I have one question ..China has developed a supersonic clone missile of brahmos …is it posses any threat to Indian navy fleets ..or Barack 8 is a solution to it ..or Chinese navy has solution to brahmos ?? If u.s is facing problem to detect brahmos ..then I don’t think Chinese have ..?

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    1. Chinese supersonic missile isn’t a BrahMos clone. They have the YJ-12 which is a Moskit upgraded clone. It’s comparable to the BrahMos but has a lesser speed.

      The Barak-8 is the solution to every cruise missile problem. It is designed by Israel to shoot down the best cruise missiles with great accuracy. Combined with the MF-STAR radar, it provides excelled defense against anti-ship missiles from 500 m to 70 km.

      China will face more difficulty compared to US as they don’t have a dedicated SAM to kill sea-skimming missiles like ESSM , Aster or Barak-8. They can detect BrahMos at similar ranges as the US but the capabilities of their combat systems is unknown.

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      1. What about Microwave Guns ? India already have KALI-5000, KALI-10000 , I heard KALI-5000 is rapid fire, not single shot like previous versions. another side, Russia also have Kroshuya-4 similar to KALI . KALI is operational since 2004. Microwave Guns are good for soft kill of Cruise Missiles, Aircrafts, UAV and satellites .

        Please share your opinion about Microwave Guns also.

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  3. great article admin!…,,,can brahmos be quad-packed like the U.S one’s so as to carry more missiles in our ships?….2ndly….how bramhos is different from the newly develped chinese supersonic missile CX-1 or is it a copy of brahmos?

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    1. Quadpackind doesnt mean you can carry more missiles. ESSM is a tiny missile hence US can quadpack 4 in 1 cell. BrahMos is huge and has a dedicated launcher. What is the point in quadpacking?

      The CX-1 looks externally similar to BrahMos but is believed to be an entirely different missile.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Only US has a proper laser weapon operational. The Chinese, Russian and Indian ones are basically 10 years away. And they are at least 20 years away from attaining missile shoot down capability.

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      1. The Russians have developed a laser weapon a long time ago already, they just dont have it as a running piece of kit yet.

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    2. Laser weapons is just a big fake. It could not be effective weapon against supersonic missiles. The whole principle of laser weapon is OVERHEAT enemy sturucture by constantly fire a beam of coherent fotons on it. But at Earths atmosphere laser beam become futile very quick, 2-3 km is limit of usage of modern megawatts lasers. You could try to “heat” enemy on greather distance, but it takes a lot of time, and supersonic missile just does not fly directly forward, so beam will be losing target and heat will disipate.

      At athmosphere we need terawatt lasers to made it usefull.

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  4. Brahmos aerospace also developing brhamos mini for air force it is claimed that it’s size would be half of that of land and ship based version can u tell difference can these air force version could make in battle also is there any supersonic missile which can be carried by a aircraft

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    1. There are lots of supersonic missiles carried by aircraft.

      US have the AGM-88, France has ASMP, Russia has the Kh-31, Kh-22, Yakhont and China has the YJ-12.

      Air Force variant of BrahMos would be used for targeting high value targets like enemy HQ, missile sites and bridges.

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  5. Perhaps one could be tackled but I am not sure that multiple missiles could be handled. If nuclear tipped it would only need to be near a target to destroy it. The Russians and Chinese are exploiting an asymmetric strategy. You don’t need a destroyer to destroy another destroyer. I think you would end up sacrificing your ‘picket’ ships to protect the bigger assets.

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    1. Yes. You have a very valid point. Russia and China have a large fleet of inexpensive small ships which carry as many missiles as destroyers. They can be used to spearhead an attack and are expendable in a conflict.

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      1. Also the environment has to be taken into account. Contrast the difference between one of these missiles fired at a target in the mid ocean and one or more fired from one side of the Strait of Hormuz. On the Iranian side you have a high rocky coastline and the missile would ‘appear’ from a cluttered background and the reaction time would only be minutes if that. I have read this material and I’m not convinced that they have a way of handling this threat. As one strategist quipped – there are only targets and submarines.

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      1. Thats a miscalculation man ! .. I hope you are not talking about KALI 5000 .. because these systems are already going trials and have been deemed classified .. Even our media has been censored from reporting about its progress .. Although KALI is not really a laser interceptor .. It according to description from DRDO uses ” High energy electron beam” to knock out incoming projectiles with extreme accuracy. The only problem which was publicly reported by DRDO about KALI was about the delay in recharging for another shot which was taking 40 seconds with the presently available cpacitors. . However this problem was reported 5-6 years ago and most probably we would have overcome it by now.

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      2. Maybe it would be more appropriate now to consider 40 Steath fighters attacking a carrier 5 meters above sea level.

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      3. That assumes they have not been jammed and communications degraded. Also I would assume a duel threat that includes subs.

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  7. A good but a bit biased analysis, Indian Navy has an independent doctrine that combines the best of the US and Soviet Navy doctrines. Please note that the Kolkata’s wont operate alone. Ships of this class will be assisted by Talwar/Shivalik class frigates and Kamorta class corvettes and a bevy of assorted Missile ships (These ships are being fitted with the Bhramos as we speak). Also this group would carry an assortment of Bhramos AShM and Nirbhay Land attack CM.
    Compared to an USN Task force the number of missiles carried by an IN Task force is less, but better focussed on the IN doctrine of Area Denial and Access control.
    This is the most realistic scenario. Water around India has multiple choke points and the IN deploys aerial, land and Water assets to protect these choke points. IN hasnt yet acquired a blue water force levels yet so I dont see them venturing out to meet the USN.
    Please also note that the Nirbhay is a Tomahawk clone and has an anti-ship targetting mode.

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    1. I think you missed the point entirely that this is a one on one comparison article. I’ve mentioned that clearly. One ship of USN v/s BrahMos. A USN task force is a different case.

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    1. You can jam the SPG-62 Illuminators using the latest Russian jammers. It will render the SM-2 useless. But it’s impossible to jam the SPY Radars as they emit way too much radiation and are extremely powerful.

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  8. A Phalanx is a closed system, but doesn’t have to stay that way. Wouldn’t it be possible to guide it’s fire using the Burke’s own radar systems to just start shooting in the approximately correct direction, and only pass off targeting to the Phalanx’s own radar system when it’s got a lock?

    It seems to me that since you’d already be spewing out 50 rounds a second by the time you get a lock, you’d have a much better chance of hitting the missile.

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    1. The limitation is not caused by the Phalanx systems radar. It’s the problem with its effective range. New systems like the Millennium gun have a 5km effective range compared to 1.5 of Phalanx.

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  9. Great analysis
    I like your logical thinking, although it feels you are slightly biased toward Russian weapons (not just in this article).

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  10. That’s how technology works. I’m sure eventually there will be a counter measure until someone else comes up with something better than Brahmos. Science is wonderful.

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  11. A great read. But I have a little problem with this statement: “”””Hence we can assume the saturation limit for a single Burke stands at 12 BrahMos missiles. So if it goes one on one with a Russian frigate or Indian destroyer carrying 16 BrahMos, it’s not returning home.””””

    Can the Russian or Indian ship launch those 16 missiles AT ONCE?? If not then the Burke saturation limit of 12 becomes moot. The Burke may very well be capable of dealing with 16 BrahMos’s that are launch seconds apart assuming Aegis can reacquire and engage new targets fast enough.

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    1. Indians have tested salvo launch capabilities and all 16 missiles can be launched seconds apart. I get your point about the time difference. But from the cold war times , Russian missiles have had the ability to allow matching of their speeds which enables them to fly almost together so they can overwhelm the target at once. Actually this can be done with any missile and is similar in concept to MRSI (Multiple round simultaneous impact) in artillery where multiple rounds are fired in quick succession and they travel at different altitudes to impact the target at the same time.

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      1. “matching of their speeds which enables them to fly almost together so they can overwhelm the target at once.”

        Thats a nightmare for those at the receiving end

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  12. More realistic to analyse the whole scenario with packs of 40-50 steath fighters flying at sea level (just like they do in WW2) to attack a US carrier. It took a year or so for US to build a couple of carriers during war time. Can they build so quickly these days with the expensive and complex carriers ? Otherwise once a carrier or B2 bomber is taken down then the tide of war would change.

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  13. Overall the author makes a lot of good points. High speed missiles represent a huge threat to short range only defenses, meaning they will likely be decisive in engagements between 2nd tier navies. Nonetheless, Phalanx CIWS is not as useless as the author claims. That white dome is, believe it or not, radar. And even if effective range is 1.5 km, the gun will start shooting well before that in order to saturate the missiles’ flight path and reach peak fire rate.

    A faster missile is harder to hit, obviously, but if hit it will die easily due to its much higher velocity, which increases the energy of any collisions. This means that any hits scored by the CIWS will almost certainly destroy the missile, since the effective speed of such a collision would be well above Mach 6. A high speed missile also puts out an exorbitant amount of searing hot exhaust, making them simple to track and engage, far more so than stealthy cruise missiles that travel slower.

    The baffling assumption that ESSM’s will only be fired once their target reaches effective range is equally misinformed. They will be fired so that their arrival at the projected point of intercept is exactly when the missile is entering effective range. This is not a baseless assumption, as it requires only high school math to plot the approximate POI and time of intercept. The self guiding hypersonic Sparrow missile can handle the rest.

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  14. No defence system can protect anything if something hypersonic be shot from outer space… may be a sattelite. Give it a thought Mr. NPR

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  16. One thing you haven’t mentioned is the enormous kinetic energy that BrahMos carries which enables it to first penetrate the enemy ship (or a building in land version) and then explode it’s warhead causing much more damage than the tradional missiles which explodes on surface.

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  18. An excellent and informative article, but i disagree with the comment regarding in laser anti missile program Russia and India are 10 years back. In fact laser anti missile technology itself now out dated by the India’s KALI (Kilo Amperage Linear Injector). India started working on this project since 1985, though the present status is unknown, reports says it was successfully tested in 2011, and scientists working on it, to compact the size. Instead of laser which makes a whole in in the incoming threats and destroy it, KALI simply damage its all electronic components, whether it is an aircraft or missile.

    Any way India is a very responsible and matured democratic country, so i feel its weapons are not threat to any other country rather a self defense.

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  19. Yeah – have you ever calculated the turning radius of a Mach 2 object turning at 20G’s. That S-maneuver is not happening. From the ships point of view the missile approaches in a straight line. The S-maneuver is performed to throw off INS guided SAM’s before they turn on their seekers. It has nothing to do with detection. If the missile turns it presents a larger profile and is easier to see on radar. As long as the missile is below the radar horizon the ship can’t see it – and the same goes for the missile. You don’t have to move very far away from the target point to cause the missile to miss. It only has 20 seconds to turn into the ship after it sees it (through chaff etc.) which at Mach2 and 20G’s is actually quite difficult.

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  20. There are two incorrect statements in this article. First, Onyx/Yahont missiles CAN perform evasive maneuvers and they are intelligent. I mean they are connected to each other by datalink. Second, this missiles have onboard ECM station in order to jam close-range SAM of its targets.

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  21. I think, any navy against India has to face K-15 and Brahmos both, K-15’s advanced version is K-4 will get operational soon. K-15 speed Mach 7.5 means more than Brahmos-2, Please answer this query ? what are advantages and disadvantages of K-15 Missile against any Navy ? and which missile is best Brahmos or K-15 ?

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    1. K-15 is a ballistic missile. Will never be used unless some country drops nukes on India. K-15 will be fitted with solely a nuclear warhead and you cannot compare speed of cruise missiles with ballistic missiles.

      K-15s advanced version is not K-4. The K-4 is a totally different missile in every aspect.

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      1. K-15 is a submarine launched ballistic missile. Since it is short range it doesn’t fly as high as ICBMs. It is not a cruise missile! It is an SLBM itself. A pure ballistic missile.

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  22. When will K-4 be inducted in navy? And K.A.L.I. is a electron beam defence weapon,right? Can it be fitted and operationalized on our destroyers??

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    1. Cruise missile is like an unmanned aircraft.

      Ballistic missile is fired into space and it falls down in a parabolic trajectory.

      Do read my article on how cruise missiles work. I will soon post one in ballistic missiles.

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  23. what if instead of carrying an mk41 VLS, we have an arleigh burke with a SYLVER VLS and an mk41 VLS, allowing it to carry Aster 30’s while at the same time carrying ESSM’s and Tomahawks

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  24. Thanks for such a detailed article. I really enjoyed it. Some internet sources are claiming that barak 8 interceptor can re-engage anti ship missile after a miss because of its duel pulse motor and active seeker. Is it true?

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    1. Thank you. The Barak-8 can re-engage aircraft, but it’s very tough to re-engage anti ship missiles , especially supersonic ones. But it won’t be an issue as the barak-8 is as single shot single kill missile.

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  25. One flaw here, if the Russian/Indian ship is to attack a CBG, they fall within the 500km protection ring, and will get pulverized by F/A-18’s and Harpoon missiles, and in the future SM-6’s with surface mode and Blk2 Tomahawks

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      1. well yes, but I wanted to be realistic and just thought that it would be futile to try to attack the USN with Brahmos because if Russia indeed goes to war and the Russian Navy faces off with the USN, the Russian Navy would be pulverized before a frigate could get close enough to fire a Brahmos

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  26. Nicely written NRP . I have a small query , do the aster missiles have the ability to shoot down brahmos ,as they are said to deal with sea skimming supersonic cruise missiles ??

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