The 3M14 Kalibr (NATO: SS-N-30A) is a Russian land attack cruise missile (LACM) and improved version of the 3M-14E “Club” LACM. The SS-N-30A has an estimated range of around 1,500 to 2,500 km and has become a mainstay in the Russian Navy’s ground-strike capabilities.
Kalibr (SS-N-30A) at a Glance
- Originated from
- Possessed by
- Alternate names
- 3M-54, Kalibr
- Sea-launched Land Attack Cruise Missile
- 6.2 m
- 450 kg warhead: High explosive, possibly nuclear capable
- 1,500-2,500 km
- In service
Although commonly referred to as the Kalibr cruise missile in media reports, the SS-N-30A is in fact just one part of the larger Kalibr family of Russian sea-launched missiles, which includes the SS-N-27 (Sizzler) anti-ship cruise missile and the 91R anti-submarine missile. All three Kalibr missiles share common Kalibr vertical launch system (VLS) tubes, which are quickly becoming a mainstay of the Russian Navy’s cruise missile launch capabilities. According the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, a “high ranking Russia defense industry official” said of Kalibr system in 2011:
“Russia plans to deploy KALIBR capability on all new design construction nuclear and non-nuclear submarines, corvettes, frigates, and larger surface ships. KALIBR provides even modest platforms, such as corvettes, with significant offensive capability and, with the use of the land attack missile, all platforms have a significant ability to hold distant fixed ground targets at risk using conventional warheads. The proliferation of this capability within the new Russian Navy is profoundly changing its ability to deter, threaten or destroy adversary targets. It can be logically assumed that KALIBR capability will be retrofitted on those larger Soviet legacy ships and submarines that undergo major overhauls and/or modernization.”1
In October 2015, Russia launched 26 SS-N-30A missiles at anti-Assad regime forces in Syria. The missiles were launched from Russian naval vessels in the Caspian Sea, including a Geperd class frigate and three smaller Russian Buyen-M corvette-class ships. The missiles reportedly flew approximately 1800 kilometers before reaching their targets.2 Some U.S. military leaders assessed this operation as an opportunity to demonstrate its strike capability. NORTHCOM Commander William Gortney, commenting on Russia’s use of cruise missiles in Syria, told Congress that “there’s no operational or tactical requirement to do it. They’re messaging us that they have this capability.”3
Later in October 2015, an SS-N-30A was fired from a Russian ship in Caspian Sea in conjunction with the launch of ground-based ICBM and SLBMs as part of a larger Russian military exercise.4
Russia also deploys a submarine launched variant, dubbed 3M-14K.5
In October 2016, Russia deployed two Buyan-M class corvettes armed with SS-N-30A’s to the Baltic Sea. 6
Russia produces several shorter range variants for export, dubbed the 3M-54T. It has a range of approximately 300 km at supersonic speeds.7
- Office of Naval Intelligence, The Russian Navy: A Historic Transition (Office of Naval Intelligence, December 2015): 33, http://www.oni.navy.mil/Portals/12/Intel%20agencies/russia/Russia%202015print.pdf?ver=2015-12-14-082038-923.
- Christopher P. Cavas, “Is Caspian Sea Fleet a Game-Changer?” Defense News, October 11, 2015, http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/naval/ships/2015/10/11/caspian-sea-russia-navy-missiles-attack-strike-military-naval-syria-frigate-corvette-lcs-littoral-combat-ship/73671188/
- USNORTHCOM and NORAD Posture Statement: Hearing before the Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces House of Representatives, 114th Cong, 2 (April 14, 2016) (statement by Admiral William E. Gortney, Commander, U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command), http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS29/20160414/104621/HHRG-114-AS29-Wstate-GortneyB-20160414.pdf
- Vladimir Isachenkov, “Russia conducts war games involving numerous missile launches,” Associated Press, October 30, 2015, http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2015/10/30/russia-holds-war-games-involving-numerous-missile-launches
- Janes’s Weapons, Naval 2012-2013 (Janes Information Group, 2012), 15.
- “Russia Beefs Up Baltic Fleet Amid NATO Tensions: Reports”, Reuters, October 26, 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-defence-baltic-sweden-idUSKCN12Q1HB.
- Ibid. 15.