Pandora’s Box?

American intelligence experts said a couple of days ago that Russia may, in case of armed struggle, launch the new cruise missiles it has developed, from containers set on board cargo ships.

Three years ago already it was revealed that Russia is developing new missile models that can be launched from cargo ships. At the time a Russian company exhibited a cruise missile that can be launched from aboard ship, from a truck as well as from a moving train. The Russian company, Agat (Concern Morinformsystem-Agat), exhibited a model of the system referred to as “Pandora’s Box”.

Experts in Israel say this might constitute a threat to the natural gas drilling stations not far from Israel’s waters. Missiles launched from ships are considered particularly threatening, since it is impossible to know where they are coming from. The boat from which they are launched is completely camouflaged amongst other boats, and can disappear from the scene immediately after sending off the missile.

The Russian company has packed the launcher and the deadly cruise missile, model CLUB-K, in a standard cargo container 40 feet long, hundreds of thousands of which travel the seas globally every single day. Each container includes four missiles, as well as an operating station. Everything about it is very compact and portable. When you decide you need it you take the missile out of the container on a folding launcher of its own. The missile is then launched vertically.

The cruise missile’s range is 270 kilometers and it is directed by radar. The missile moves at a speed of 700 meters a second, a high speed which adds to the destruction impact on top of that of the war head. The lethal missile’s length is about six meter, its weight is 1.7 ton and it is armed with a missile head that weighs about 400 kilograms.

The great worry this causes in Israel is due to the possibility of terror organizations supported by Iran and North Korea for example, having access to these kind of cargo ship launched missiles. But it is not only in Israel that this system seems threatening. Admiral Cecil D. Haney in charge of the U.S. Strategic Command, said recently in a testimony to the Congress Armed Forces committee, that the combination of advanced Russian cruise missiles and the ability to hide them in a launching container is very worrying.