While We're Discussing Missillies - India and Russia!

Was just reading the Wiki on cruise missiles.
While China seems to have a missile it claims to be a hyper-sonic cruise design (YJ-12), the US seems to be stuck with sub-sonic variants. Maybe the UK and/or French will sell us a few of theirs.


But, going down the list of makes/models/ownership of the (known to Wiki) world’s cruise missiles, there was at least one (BrahMos) shown as a joint development effort between Russia and India. WTF? A Hypersonic Stealth? From a joint effort of these two?
When did these two jump in the joint military development bed?
Yes, Pakistan has an indigenous model.

North Korea is not mentioned in this article.

As an aside - if you’re moving at hypersonic speeds, what difference does it make if you are or are not “stealth”? Like anybody is going to hit you anyway.

Flying at hypersonic speeds doesn’t make you invulnerable. Radar is based on radio waves and travels a lot faster than any plane or missile could ever manage. And if you can detect a plane or missile, you can shoot it down - just shoot some anti-aircraft fire in front of it and let the flak rip it to shreds.

They got into bed in the 1970’s. Really tooks off after the Soviet Union cashed its chips. Its primarily an anti Ship missile.

The initial weapon system was a heavily modified Tomahawk.

Understand the difference between the US cruise missiles and hypersonic warheads.

Cruise missiles (USA) were designed to hug the ground. The higher you fly, the easier for radar to pick you up. The US designed cruise missiles to defeat USSR tracking. Weaving around hills at 50 to 100 feet up, they were almost impossible to track. The path could be programmed so it was not a straight line. The only real way to detect these was to look from above and pick them out of the background - cars, other aircraft, trains, big metal structures, etc. A lot more challenging than combing the empty skies.

They fly subsonic because it uses a lot less fuel, they use cheap motors and airframes (since they are essentially “throw-away”), they needed to be small and simple since some are air-launched, and their key is maneuverability not speed. The key is the fancy computerized guidance; although I suspect this is less of a technical challenge for other nations than it was 20 years ago.

Since the key is the ground-hugging autopilot I suspect the other missiles you are reading about are actually just aircraft-type versions of ballistic missiles, flying higher than obstacles on a programmed path.That makes them easier targets.

A supersonic or hypersonic missile is only difficult to catch from behind. From the front, or side, it’s no different. Patriots operate against ballistic missiles on the same principle. something dodging and weaving around hills would be more challenging to hit. In fact, the story is that a number of ICBM designs exploit this fact by maneuvering randomly during re-entry to make intercept more difficult; plus the USA and USSR added dummy warheads on the missile’s payload bus to increase the number of interceptors needed. (Although one suggestion was you could tell a relatively empty dummy from a heavy uranium warhead by how it maneuvers)…


India and Russia jointly working on an anti-ship missile. I’m going on a limb and guessing the guidance systems are not an entirely joint effort, and could be easily replaced by systems the other side doesn’t know about.

My thought about supersonic was in regard to taking out N. Korea’s artillery using sub-launched missiles, where speed would be critical.

One other WTF came up - the US can launch from aircraft - but only from the B-52. While that was an impressive bird in 1953, shouldn’t we figure out how to mount these on say a B-2 (are any still operational?) or smaller craft?
Or are we coming to the realization that the manned strategic bomber is obsolete, and we can build bigger drones to perform the same function, without the weight of people and their incredibly heavy, complex and expensive life-support systems.

And, speaking of making flying objects hard to shoot down - while I don’t have warm and fuzzies about current anti-missile technology, one Q pops up: Those pesky drones wiping out (sometimes the right) people in Pakistan have got to have pissed off quite a few people in the Pakistani military and, esp, intelligence communities.
Why have they not deployed anti-aircraft guns - they may or may not be able to hit anything, but a few cheap AA batteries would go a long way toward improving the government’s standing with the locals. So why haven’t they? Or have they?

Shooting down drones is easy, with aircraft or SAMs, they are fairly slow, not particularly maneuverable and cannot fight back. Or better yet, just bomb the drone base. The reason it has not been done is political, military action cannot be divorced from political consequences. Furthermore there is evidence, no actually per wikileaks, confirmation that the Pakistan Government is enabling the operations anyway and indeed recent reports are that some recent “American Drone Strikes” are were not American at all.

Ah, good old USA - always willing to bomb your country to give you cover to take out your political enemies.

If the Taliban doesn’t show up and shoot one down once in a while, aren’t they losing cred in the Jihad dist circles?

Isn’t it amazing how English spell-checkers have picked up new terms so quickly…

Isn’t that pipeline from Kazakhstan’s oil fields (and didn’t they kick us out?) through Afghanistan and Pakistan getting awfully expensive? Even if built, it would have a huge bullseye on it with "USA’ in big letters - how long would that last?

A hypersonic reentry vehicle is more difficult to intercept even if you can track it ballistically, simply by virtue that you have a shorter period to intercept for a given level of accuracy. It is widely accepted–except by a few conservative holdouts–that the Patriot system used against Iraqi Scuds in the first Gulf War were completely ineffective due to the slowness of the fusing and the resulting shrapnel field ending up behind the vehicle. The failure of the Scus to be a significant weapon had to do more with its inherent inaccuracy combined with the modifications that made them unstable in flight. And regardless, even a successful hit on a unitary target like the Scub may have little or no effect if it merely punches through the exhausted boost vehicle in the terminal phase.

Penetration aids (the ‘dummy warheads’ you mention) are more sophisticated than merely being empty RV shells, and should present essentially the same threat (speed, aerodynamic behavior, and radar cross section) as the actual RVs. Distinguishing between real threats and pen aids is a significant problem in terminal-phase missile defense, and it is one in which the defender is at a distinct disadvantage, as the attacker may modify both the RV and pen aids to perform identically, negating any previous efforts to distinguish between them.


Yes, the overkill on both sides in the cold war was precisely to ensure that even if the devices failed to perform as advertised, at least one was likely to get through to each target. the same logic applies to patriots and other intercepts. A 99% effective missile shield is basically a crapshoot. (Yes, Patriot was less effective than Scuds themselves in preventing a Scud from hitting a target).

Another issue, too, is coverage area. You have only a few minutes (I believe the common number in cold war times, was about 20 minutes) from when the ICBM warhead comes over the horizon into North American airspace, until impact. It could be aimed anywhere on the continent. To cover all that, you would need a pretty widely deployed set of interceptor bases. Then, thngs like telling a warhead from a satellite, separating decoys from real warheads, etc - all that is another greater level of arms race.

Pakistan is not going to hand over AA tech to a bunch of independent tribal warriors, or their Taliban “guests”. Any base with such tech in it in a poorly controlled area would be the equivalent of inviting the locals “come in and take it over”. Plus, why would the Pakistani armed forces want to make the tribal areas, with Taliban active in them, feel safe from the Americans? Better to leave things as they are, let the tribes understand “anarchy bad, government control good”. (And “America - bogeyman!”)

Didn’t the Soviets leave behind enough weaponry from their little adventure in Afghanistan to supply ever tribe at least a couple of self-propelled artillery pieces and/or tanks? I’d think scavenging a heavy machine gun, if not a real ack-ack.

For, that matter, aren’t they following behind the departing Americans (oh, yes, those are NATO troops) and scoring updated RPG’s, shoulder-fired missiles -all kinds of goodies adequate to down drones?

India and Russia have surprisingly warm relations. India has been Russia’s biggest defence contracting customer since the end of the Cold War (and bought a number of weapons from the Soviet Union before that anyway).

In addition to the BrahMos program, they are also developing a fifth generation fighter.

Is the latter remark only about the BrahMos? Because the relationship actually became much weaker once the Soviet Union comprehensively demonstrated that Socialism was unworkable.

I’m a little confused. What’s surprising about it? There’s a shit ton of historical alignment between the two from 1947 to around the late 1990s. It was only around then that Bill Clinton visited India and relations between India and the US began to thaw. There’s still a lot of “in principle” suspicion and distrust of the US left over among certain political and socio-economic circles.