War Machine, Volume 3

Anti-ship Missiles The anti-ship missile has in recent years become the weapon with which small nations are able to challenge the supremacy ofthe naval superpowers. The 1982 events in the South Atlantic have seen theory become practice to great effect. The role of the anti-ship missile is simply to prevent the target it hits from fulfilling its allotted role. The missile can do this in one of three byways: causing a mobility kill by effecting a weapon/sensor kill or by sinking it. In the first case the idea is to deprive the enemy ship of its ability to move either by destroying the engine facilities or by causing such damage that the ship is unable to move under its own power without the risk of sinking In the second case the missile is targeted in such away that it will explode either amongst the ships external weapons and sensors such as radars (thereby destroying their ability to function) or actually within the ship's command control and communications nerve centre (thus effectively paralysing the ship's fighting Inability). the third case the weight of the warhead is usually so great (above 102500 kg/1 lb or so) that the resultant explosion causes such catastrophic damage that the ship has no hope of staying afloat. It is the USSR which subscribes to the last concept by fielding a huge variety of ship- submarine- and air-launched anti-ship missiles that the West cannot match. However, where the. West is ahead is in the numbers and types of weapons with which it fulfils the first two concepts. The recent Falkland Islands war Atypical mobility kill hit. The damage caused would be sufficient to stop the ship dead in the water but not to sink it. and the continuing battle in the Arabian Gulf between Iran and Iraq have proved a number of weapons in battle. These and the other conflicts in which anti-ship weapons have been employed have also proved to the world that the nation with a small navy and air force can standup to others with larger forces on equal terms if it is equipped with anti-ship missiles as it reduces the threat of 'gunboat diplomacy. The mere threat of Iran closing the Gulf to oil tanker traffic is one such example on the otjier side of the coin however a nation can enforce its will on a number of others by using the anti-ship missile as apolitical weapon. Thus the advent of the anti-ship missile is not just that of anew weapon type but something considerably more. It is in this light that the lists of operator countries of the various types should be studied closely, especially with regard to the political stability of the areas in which the countries are to be found as it is certain that these missiles will see a lot more use in the years to come. TheMBB Kormoran anuses active or passive radar-homing seeker mode to target itself on a point just above the waterline of its victim.
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