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.
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. , 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.
|Name||Year||Warhead||Range||Speed (km/h)||Propulsion||launched by||Guidance||Built by||Comments|
|Fritz X||1943||320 kg||5 km||1235 km/h||none||Air||manual (radio link)||DE|
|Henschel Hs 293||1943||295 kg||5.0 km||828 km/h||Liquid-propellant, then gliding||Air||manual (radio link)||DE|
|Blohm & Voss BV 246||1943||435 kg||210 km||none||Air||DE|
|Ohka||1943||1200kg||36 km||630 km/h||Solid-propellant||Air||human kamikaze||JP|
|Boeing Harpoon||1977||221 kg||93-280km||864 km/h||turbojet engine||Air, surface, sub||radar (B3: midcourse update)||USA|
|AS.34 Kormoran 2||1991||220 kg||35km||rocket||Air||Inertial, active radar||DE|
|Penguin||1972||130 kg||55+ km||high subsonic||Solid propellant||Air, surface, sub||laser, IR, active radar||NOR|
|AGM-123 Skipper II||1985||450 kg||25 km||1,100 km/h||solid-fueled||Air||laser-guided||USA|
|Aerospatiale SS.12/AS.12||1960||28 kg||7 km||370 km/h||solid-fueled||Air, surface||wire MCLOS||FR|
|BGM-109 Tomahawk||450 kg||2500km||880 km/h||turbofan||Air, surface, sub||GPS, TERCOM, DSMAC||USA|
|RBS-15||1985||200 kg||200 km||subsonic||turbojet||Air, surface||inertial, GPS, radar||SWE|
|Exocet||1979||165 kg||180 km||1134 Km/h||solid propellant||Air, surface, sub||Inertial, active radar||FR||used in combat|
|Otomat||1977||210 kg||180+ km||1116 km/h||Turbojet||Surface||Inertial, GPS, active radar||IT|
|Martel||1984||150 kg||60 km max||1070 km/h||solid propellant||Air||passive radar, video||FR/UK|
|Sea Eagle||1985||230 kg||110 km +||1000 km/h||Turbojet||Air||Inertia, active radar||UK|
|Sea Skua||?||28 kg||25 km||950 km/h||solid fuel||Air||semi-active radar||UK||used in combat|
|RIM-66 Standard||1967||?||74 to 167 km||4140 km/h||solid fuel||Surface||inertial, semi-active radar||USA||used in combat|
|RIM-67 Standard||1981||62 kg||120-185 km||4140 km/h||solid fuel||Surface||inertial, semi-active radar||USA|
|KSShch||1958||nuclear||40 km||liquid-fuel rocket||Surface||inertial||USSR|
|P-5 Pyatyorka||1959||1000 kg||750 km||1000 km/h||turbojet||Surface||Inertial, mid course correction, active radar||USSR|
|P-15 Termit||1958||454 kg||80 km||1100 km/h||Liquid fuel rocket||Surface||active radar, IR||USSR||used in combat|
|P-70 Ametist||1968||500 kg||65 km||1050 km/h||solid rocket||sub||inertial, terminal homing||USSR|
|Moskit||1970||320 kg||120 km||3600 km/h||ramjet||Surface, Air||active radar, IR||USSR||Mach 3!|
|P-120 Malakhit||1972||110 km||USSR||used in combat|
|P-800 Oniks||1983||250 kg||300 km||3600 km/h||ramjet||Surface, Air||active-passive, radar||USSR|
|3M-54 Klub||400 kg||300 km||Turbojet||sub||Inertial + Active Radar||USSR|
|Raduga Kh-15||1980s||Air||active radar||USSR|
|Kh-35||1983||145 kg||130 km||970 km/h||turbofan||Surface, Air||Inertial, active radar||USSR|
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: