Deadly new Russian weapon hides in shipping container

MOSCOW Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:11pm EDT

Related Topics

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian company is marketing a devastating new cruise missile system which can be hidden inside a shipping container, giving any merchant vessel the capability to wipe out an aircraft carrier.

Potential customers for the formidable Club-K system include Kremlin allies Iran and Venezuela, say defense experts. They worry that countries could pass on the satellite-guided missiles, which are very hard to detect, to terrorist groups.

"At a stroke, the Club-K gives a long-range precision strike capability to ordinary vehicles that can be moved to almost any place on earth without attracting attention," said Robert Hewson of Jane's Defense Weekly, who first disclosed its existence.

A promotional video for the Club-K on the website of Moscow-based makers Kontsern-Morinformsistema-Agat shows an imaginary tropical country facing a land, sea and air attack from a hostile neighbor.

It fights back by loading three shipping containers concealing Club-Ks onto a truck, a train and a ship, disperses them, and then launches a devastating strike on its enemy, destroying its warships, tanks and airfields.

"The idea that you can hide a missile system in a box and drive it around without anyone knowing is pretty new," said Hewson, who is editor of Jane's Air-Launched Weapons.

"Nobody's ever done that before."

Hewson estimated the cost of the Club-K system, which packs four ground or sea-launched cruise missiles into a standard 40-foot shipping container, at $10-20 million.

"Unless sales are very tightly controlled, there is a danger that it could end up in the wrong hands," he said.

The promotional video showed how an ordinary shipping container with the Club-K inside could be hidden among other containers on a train or a ship. When required, the roof lifts off and the four missiles stand upright ready to fire.

An official reached by telephone at makers Kontsern Morinformsistema-Agat declined to answer questions about the Club-K.

He said the firm had no spokesman and he needed time to study written questions before passing a request to the firm's management.

Russia is one of the world's top arms exporters, selling a record $8.5 billion of weapons last year to countries ranging from Syria and Venezuela to Algeria and China. Its order book is estimated to top $40 billion.

Mikhail Barabanov, a defense expert at Russia's Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), said that as far as he understood, the Club-K was still at the concept stage.

"Potential clients include anyone who likes the idea," he said. "It is known that the United Arab Emirates has shown interest in buying the Club."

Barabanov said the Club-K used proven missiles from Novator, an established Russian maker of weaponry including anti-submarine, surface-to-air and submarine-launched missiles.

One of the missiles on offer is a special anti-ship variant with a second stage which splits off after launch and accelerates to supersonic speeds of up to Mach 3.

"It's a carrier-killer," said Hewson of Jane's. "If you are hit by one or two of them, the kinetic impact is vast...it's horrendous."

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (10)
gramps wrote:
weapons, fractional reserve and central banking, prostitution, street drugs..big money makers..somehow the sociopaths, about 3% of the human race, got the upper hand..ordinary people don’t want this crap..only the sickos do..what best to do about these ones ?…

Apr 26, 2010 11:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
haveblue128 wrote:
This scenario is one which the Bush Team was presented with soon after 9-11. There are many vulnerabilities in the container security system arraigned by DHS, but never acted upon. In fact, this was the subject of many GAO reports during the Bush tenure.
90 percent of goods coming to US are sent through the 20 largest international ports. The early recommendation of setting up a system which allowed for inspection before a container left a foreign port would have spared the US from this and other very real threats.
While the Obama admin is working to reduce these vulnerabilities, had DHS both gotten stronger White House backing and proper funding from the outset, the likelihood of an attack as suggested with the Klub-K system would be far less likely.

Apr 27, 2010 2:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Vitaliy1234 wrote:
weapons, fractional reserve and central banking, prostitution, street drugs..big money makers..somehow the sociopaths, about 3% of the human race, got the upper hand..ordinary people don’t want this crap..only the sickos do..what best to do about these ones ?…

For the beginning try to learn something positive about Russia. May be it’d cleanse your brain off this crap. By the way your description matches USA as well

Apr 27, 2010 4:26am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures