Russia to Begin Testing Onyx-M Missiles – Can Hit London in 14 Minutes

  • The Onyx-M has the capability of engaging targets with a high-low trajectory of 497 miles
  • The new Onyx-M Rocket will only need 14 minutes to reach London from Russia.
  • The US Harpoon is the main competitor to Onyx.

Russia announced the testing phase of Onyx-M missiles will begin in October, 2019. The Onyx-M has the capability of engaging targets with a high-low trajectory of 497 miles (800 km). The missile was originally designed to be deployed for ship targets and has the capability to be used against ground targets. Previously Onyx-M had a capability of engaging targets with a high-low trajectory up to 186 miles (300 km).

Russian experts claims the increase in distance is based on new fuel ingredients and lighter on-board electronics. It can carry nuclear or conventional warheads. The supersonic speed gives it a good chance of avoiding CIWS and other shipboard guns. A close-in weapon system (CIWS) is a point-defense weapon system for detecting and destroying short-range incoming missiles and enemy aircraft that have penetrated outer defenses, typically mounted shipboard in a naval capacity.

In comparison, the new Onyx-M Rocket will only need 14 minutes to reach London from Russia.

Characteristics of the new Onyx-M 

  • Length of rocket 8 meters
  • Rocket diameter 0,67 meters
  • Wingspan 1.7 meters
  • Carrier Launch Length 8,9 meters
  • Diameter of Carrier launch 0,72 meters
  • Maximum speed 750 m/s
  • Surface speed M=2
Zircon is believed to be a maneuvering, winged hypersonic cruise missile with a lift-generating center body. A booster stage with solid-fuel engines accelerates it to supersonic speeds, after which a scramjet motor with liquid-fuel (Deciling) in the second stage accelerates it to hypersonic speeds.

Onyx-M will be similar to the 3M22 Zircon scramjet powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile developed by NPO Mashinostroyenia in Russia.

The P-800 Onyx, also known in export markets as Yakhont, is a Soviet supersonic anti-ship cruise missile developed by NPO Mashinostroyenia, a rocket design bureau based in Reutov, Russia. During the Soviet era, the bureau designed a myriad of weapons systems, including the UR-100N intercontinental ballistic missile and the military Almaz space station program.

A majority of the Russian navy fleet is equipped with Onyx missiles.

The main partner of NPO Mashinostroyenia is India. A Russian-Indian joint venture was created called BrahMos Aerospace Pvt. Ltd.

In the US, the Harpoon would be the main competitor to the Russian made Onyx. The Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile, developed and manufactured by McDonnell Douglas in 1970s. It is owned by Boeing.

McDonnell Douglas and Boeing’s Defense, Space manufactured 7,000 Harpoon missiles.The Harpoon is undergoing an upgrade with Block II, which includes a navigation system, while moving from a legacy midcourse guidance system to a new GPS-aided inertial navigation system – that gives the missile a 7-times-better targeting capability than the legacy missile.

Only time will tell how well the new missile will do during the testing phase that starts next month. The capabilities described show great potential. However, such a missile could be a danger to the West and should not be taken lightly.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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