| P-120/P-50 Malakhit |
(NATO reporting name: SS-N-9 'Siren')
P-120 Malakhit medium range cruise missile
|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|Manufacturer||OKB-52 MAP (later NPO Mashinostroyeniye)|
|Mass||3,180 kg (7,010 lb)|
|Length||8.84 m (29.0 ft)|
|Diameter||76.2 cm (30.0 in)|
|Warhead||HE-SAP or 200 kt nuclear|
|Warhead weight||total 840 kg (1,850 lb) HE 500 kg/1102 lb|
|Wingspan||2.1 m (6.9 ft)|
|Propellant||Turbojet, solid fuel|
|Sub launched conventional warhead: 70 km nuclear warhead: 110 km Ship launched conventional warhead 120 km nuclear warhead: 150(160) km|
|Nanuchka and Sarancha, Charlie-II and Papa classes|
The P-120 Malakhit (Russian: П-120 «Малахит» 'Malachite'; NATO reporting name: SS-N-9 Siren, GRAU designation: 4K85) is a Russian medium range anti-ship missile used by corvettes and submarines. Introduced in 1972, it remains in service but has been superseded by the SS-N-22 Sunburn.
The Echo class submarine required the submarine to spend 30 minutes or more on the surface when firing its P-5 Pyatyorka (SS-N-3A 'Shaddock') missiles. This made the submarine very vulnerable to enemy attack, so in 1963 the Soviets started work on a new missile that could be fired whilst submerged, and a submarine to carry it. These became the P-50 Malakhit and Charlie class submarine. The P-50 was replaced by the P-120 design during development.
However, problems in development meant that the twelve Charlie I submarines were built with the shorter-ranged P-70 Ametist (SS-N-7 'Starbright', an evolution of the SS-N-2C 'Styx') as a stopgap before the introduction of the P-120 Malakhit on the Charlie II.
The P-120 missile was later used as the basis for the SS-N-14 Silex rocket-propelled torpedo.
The L band seeker and radar altimeter originally designed for the 'Siren' were first used on the 'Starbright' whilst the Soviets sorted out the P-120's troublesome engines. However the 'Siren' has space for datalink equipment, allowing mid-course guidance from the launch platform or something else. When fired from a submarine, the missile can be launched at a maximum depth of 50 meters.
It was not until November 1977 that it was accepted for use on submarines. The Charlie-II submarine carried eight missiles (of which two usually carried nuclear warheads) and were intended as a cheap alternative to the one-off Papa class submarine, which carried ten missiles. All have now been retired from service.