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Brahmos or Tomahawk anti ship missile, which one is the real threat to Chinese Navy?


Chinese media publisher Sohu recently published an article about anti ship missile of India and US. In this article the auther compared both missiles to find out which anti ship missile is a threat to PLA Navy.

The BrahMos anti-ship missile is a supersonic anti-ship missile jointly developed by Russia and India, which can be launched from warships, fighter jets, land and Submarines that makes Brahmos only Cuise missile in the world that can be lauched from all platform . At present, India’s Su-30MKI and frigate have conducted related launch tests. So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the BrahMos anti-ship missile compared with the US missiles of the same level, and which one is more deadly and threat to Chinese Navy.

Strictly speaking, the United States currently does not have an anti-ship missile similar to the BrahMos. “BrahMos” is a typical anti-ship missile designed in accordance with the Soviet/Russian anti-ship warfare concept. It is characterized by its ability to fly at supersonic speeds throughout its entire range and ensure its lethality by setting up large warheads. The mission goal is to strike enemy destroyers and large surface battleships.

brahmos missile
Brahmos missile fired from Kolkata class destroyer

Relatively speaking, the Indian anti-ship missile “BrahMos” does not pay attention to concealment, but pays attention to high-speed penetration to break through the enemy’s air defense interception, and relies on the destruction of large warheads when detonated. The potential energy released by the force and high-speed impact achieves “one hit kills” as much as possible.

Brahmos anti-ship missiles not only pursue speed but also pay great attention to range. The granite and basalt anti-ship missiles of the Soviet era were all designed for long-range anti-ship. In BrahMos’s generation, the long-distance anti-ship concept is still being implemented.

In contrast, among the current anti-ship missiles in the United States, the Harpoon and NSM are both medium and light anti-ship missiles. The only one that can barely be at the same level as the BrahMos is the Tomahawk anti-ship missile. The design concept of the “Tomahawk” anti-ship type is completely different from that of the “BrahMos”. This type of missile uses subsonic flight throughout the entire process. It avoids air defense fire by reducing the flight altitude and flying in the blind area of ​​the enemy’s air defense surveillance system as much as possible.

tomahawk_cruise missile
Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile

However, because the “Tomahawk” anti-ship type does not have radar stealth capability, once it is discovered by the enemy, its probability of success in penetration is much lower than that of the “BrahMos”. However, because the “Tomahawk” anti-ship type uses turbofan engines and has a low flying speed, it is only equivalent to two-thirds of the “BrahMos” in volume and only about half the weight of the “BrahMos”. However, the weight of the warhead can be equal to that of the BrahMos, however the range of the Tomahawk is 200km more than BrahMos, so it is more suitable for a single platform to carry multiple shots for saturation attacks.

It can be seen that the respective advantages and disadvantages of the “BrahMos” and “Tomahawk” anti-ship types are obvious. It is precisely because of this that the sub-super combined and hypersonic missile with heavy anti-ship missiles has become a new development trend. The model will become one of the most important threats to surface warships in the future.

In fact, the current series of anti-ship missiles is not limited to shipboards. Bombers carrying anti-ship missiles to perform anti-ship missions may become a more advantageous choice.


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