Russia’s New 90R1 Sub-Killing Rocket Will Challenge NATO’s Underwater Supremacy

Saturday, July 1, 2017
By Paul Martin

Splav, a Tula, Russia-based company specializing in multiple rocket launcher systems for land and naval applications, has unveiled a new guided projectile for the RPK-8 Zapad (‘West’) anti-submarine rocket launcher system. Independent Russian military analyst Vladimir Tuchkov explains the ins and outs of the upgraded rocket.

The new rocket, designated the 90R1, is being featured at the St. Petersburg International Maritime Defense Show, which wraps up Sunday. Earlier this week, Splav’s press office confirmed that the projectile had already been put into production, and is starting to enter service aboard Russian Navy ships.

Splav also showed off another system, the Magnesit-MN, at the defense show. That rocket, also fired by the RPK-8, features hydro-acoustic elements providing surface ships with protection against homing torpedoes.

Commenting on the capabilities the new rockets will provide the Russian Navy, independent military analyst and Svobodnaya Pressa contributor Vladimir Tuchkov wrote that it’s important to note, first of all, that they are wedded the RPK-8, an anti-submarine warfare system with a long and proud history.

“The RPK-8 is a relatively new antisubmarine weapons system, adopted in 1991,” the expert recalled. “The system was a deep modernization of Smerch-2, developed three decades earlier. The effectiveness of Smerch-2 as a means of anti-submarine warfare…was not very high. It was used mainly to repel enemy torpedo attacks, since it was equipped not with self-guided torpedoes, but depth charge bombs. Smerch-2 was created by the well-known Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering, which would subsequently go on to develop the Topol mobile land-based ICBM carrier.”

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