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“It is highly likely that the Russians have enabled the transfer of Russian surface-to-air missile defenses to Hezbollah, such as the SA-8, SA-17 and SA-22, as well as the [advanced anti-ship cruise missile] the Yakhont,” The Russian-made P-800 Oniks/Yakhont missiles pose a significant threat and are considered to be the most advanced type of weapons in its category in the world. A nuclear cable cruise missile. It flies at a low altitude over the waves and can reach Mach 2 to Mach 3 speeds (up to three times the speed of sound, making it a supersonic missile).
P-800 Oniks/Yakhont Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile
The P-800 Oniks is one of the most deadly anti-ship missiles today. Its export version is know and Yakhont. Western designation of this missile is SS-N-26 Strobile. Despite this, there is little information to be had about this powerful weapon.
Development of the P-800 began in 1983. It became operational in the early 2000s. So far, it has been mostly used on land or in submarines, although some sources state that it is also mounted on certain naval vessels or airplanes as well.
There are several other operation versions of the missile. It is used in the mobile Bastion-P coastal defense missile system.
The P-800 has an effective guidance system. It is fire-and-forget, which basically means that the launch platform can run to safety after launching the missile. At the beginning of its flight, the P-800 uses satellite guidance, and towards the end, it actively tracks its target with radar. This guidance works so well that the P-800 has a Circular Error Probable (CEP) of just 1.5 meters.
The P-800 has two different ways to approach its targets. It can fly just above the sea the whole way, which decreases its range to 120 kilometers but reduces its radar visibility. Or, it can start out flying high and dive towards the target. This method gives the P-800 a maximum range of 300 km. Some sources also state that the P-800 Oniks, the non-export version, has a range of 600 km. However, there is no solid evidence for this.
The P-800 uses a powerful two-stage propulsion system. For the initial flight stage it uses a solid-fuel rocket booster, which the airflow ejects after it burns out. For sustained supersonic cruising it uses liquid-fuel ramjet. This propulsion system works very well. In fact, its maximum of speed of Mach 2.5 (3 062 km/h) may travel too fast for Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS).
The P-800 has a very high chance of hitting its target. Its supersonic speed gives it a good chance of avoiding CIWS and other shipboard guns. Also, it has excellent resistance to electronic counter-measures, which further improves its survivability.
This anti-ship cruise missile carries a powerful warhead. Weighing between 200 and 250 kilograms, this warhead could wreak enormous damage upon standard ships. In addition, it is believed that the P-800 can use either conventional or nuclear warheads, with the latter probably intended for US carrier groups in the case of a major war. Reportedly, this missile can also be used against land targets.