A cruise missile is a guided missile used against terrestrial targets that remains in the atmosphere and flies the major portion of its flight path at approximately constant speed.

BrahMos (PJ-10) - India/Russia

The BrahMos is inarguably the world's deadliest cruise missile of its type. The anti-ship cruise missile is a crucial step forward in India's defence efforts. This technological achievement places India among a small group of countries to acquire the capacity of producing cruise missiles. Its other distinguishing feature is that the cruise missile is a state-of-the-art beast.

The BrahMos missile is a two-stage vehicle that has a solid propellant booster and a liquid (propellant) ramjet system. The missile can fly at 2.8 times the speed of sound. It can carry warheads up to 200 kg in weight and has a maximum range of 290 km. The missile is capable of being launched from multiple platforms based on land, sea, sub-sea and air. The modular design of the missile and its capability of being launched at different orientations enables it to be integrated with a wide spectrum of platforms like warships, submarines, different types of aircraft, mobile autonomous launchers and silos.

Its unmatchable speed is its high point. The supersonic speed imparts it a greater strike-power as well. Possessing stealth characteristics, the 6.9-meter cruise missile weighing three tons has a range of 280 km. Its another outstanding feature is that it is highly accurate and can be guided to its target mainly with the help of an onboard computer. This has been established by numerous test-flights. Notably, the computer, advanced software and the guidance system have been designed by India whereas Russia has provided the propulsion system.

The BrahMos, a derivative of the Yakhont, was developed by a joint venture between India's Defence Research and Development Organisation and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyenia.

3M-54 Klub (3M-54 Kalibr) - Russia

The Russian 3M-54 is developed by the Novator Design Bureau. The nomenclature of this family of missiles is a complete jumble. It is designed to destroy submarine and surface vessels and also engage static/slow-moving targets, whose coordinates are known in advance, even if these targets are protected by active defences and electronic countermeasures.

The missile is 6.2 meters long, which is the same as the length of the standard torpedo tubes used by Western navies. It is designed according to the double-stage cruise scheme. The first solid-fuel stage ensures the missile's launch from a universal vertical launcher of a surface craft or from a submarine torpedo tube with a diameter of 0.533 meters.

The 3M-54E missile has a range of 300 km. For the majority of its trajectory it flies at a high subsonic speed. The first stage drops off when the missile reaches the prescribed altitude and its second stage sustainer engine goes into action. This is the time when the missile's wing and tail assembly unfold. The altitude of its flight goes down to 10-15 metres above the sea surface and the missile heads towards the target in accordance with the target designations, fed before the start into the memory of its board guidance system. The targeting on the cruise sector of the trajectory is affected by an inertial navigation system. The end sector of the missile's flight with the homing head active proceeds only five metres above the water surface. At 60 km from its target the third, solid-fuel stage separates from the missile, accelerates to supersonic speed and overcomes the defence zone of the target vessel.

India has made substantial purchases of the Novator 3M-54 Alfa missile to equip its Kilo class submarines and its new frigates.

C-802 (Yingji-8) - China

The C-802 land attack and anti-ship cruise missile [Western designation SACCADE], is an improved version of the C-801 which employs a small turbojet engine in place of the original solid rocket engine. Its guidance equipment has strong anti-jamming capability, and targets ships that have a very low success rate in intercepting the missile. It can be launched from airplanes, ships, submarines and land-based vehicles, and is considered along with the US "Harpoon" as among the best anti-ship missiles in the present day.

Due to the Yingji-8 missile's small radar reflectivity, low attack flight path (only five to seven meters above the sea surface) and strong anti-jamming capability of its guidance system, the missile is adept at penetrating ship defenses.[citation needed] The single shot hit probability of the Yingji-82 is unknown, though one unreferenced source claims it to be as high as 98%. The Yingji-82 can be launched from airplanes, surface ships, submarines and land-based vehicles.

P-800 Oniks - Russia

The P-800 Oniks is one of the most deadly anti-ship missiles today. The P-800 was used as the basis for the joint Russian-Indian supersonic missile BrahMos. It has an effective guidance system. Its "fire-and-forget" system allows its launch platform to run to safety after launching the missile.

The missile is carried in flight by aerodynamic lift. The solid-propellant booster is located in the ramjet's combustion chamber and is ejected by the airflow after it has burned out.

The advantages of the missile are many, it has the capability of over-the-horizon firing range, full autonomy of combat use ("fire and forget"), set of flexible ("low-profile sea-skimming", "high-low") trajectories, high supersonic speed during all phases of flight, full harmonization for a wide range of platforms (surface ships, submarines and land-based launchers) and possible use of the missile in electronic countermeasures environment and under enemy fire.

Naval Strike Missile - Norway

A new anti-ship missile designed by Norway’s Kongsberg, the Naval Strike Missile is touted by the company as the world’s first “5th generation anti-ship missile.” NSM utilizes a rocket booster for initial launch, after which it transits to a turbofan engine. The missile is a sea-skimmer, appearing to travel less than 10 meters above the wavetops in videos. Speed is unreported but likely high subsonic.

Kongsberg touts the missile as “fully passive,” meaning it does not use active sensors to track targets. NSM does not emit infrared or radar waves that could be detected by enemy ships. Weighing in at 410 kilograms, NSM is smaller than other missiles on this list. The missile has a range of 185 kilometers and carries a 125 kilogram warhead.

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