Iran May Have Aircraft Carrier Destroying Missile
The Russian state owned arms manufacturing firm Novator Design Bureau in Yekaterinburg was aggressively marketing the “Sizzler” anti ship missile at last month’s IDEX 2007, said Steve Zaloga, a missile analyst with the Teal Group, a Fairfax, Virginia-based defense research organization. The IDEX is the Middle East’s largest weapons exposition.
The Sizzler is a weapon that the US Navy has known about for six years but still has not developed a proven defense system to counter the threat. The Sizzler is a unique highly dangerous missile. Conventional anti ship missiles fly at sub sonic speeds and fly in a straight line. They therefore can be tracked and brought down by multi layed anti missile defense systems deployed on American aircraft carriers.
The Sizzler is a much more capable and dangerous weapon. “This is a carrier-destroying weapon,” said Orville Hanson, who evaluated weapons systems for 38 years with the Navy. “That’s its purpose.”
The Sizzler can be launched from a new class of silent diesel powered submarines. It starts out at subsonic speeds but about ten miles from a target the warhead separates from the projectile and a rocket fires increasing the missiles velocity to three times the speed of sound, about 2,000 miles per hour. As if the high speed didn’t present enough of a challenge to an aircraft carrier’s defense system the Sizzler is capable of sharp high speed evasive maneuvers that makes it highly difficult to defend against.
The Chinese are known to have deployed these missiles. If the Chinese ever decide to invade Taiwan American aircraft carriers at their current level of protection may prove to be defenseless against the Sizzler threat.
The Russians are known to have had talks with the Iranians about selling them Sizzler missiles. With tensions in the Gulf region heating up one would guess that the Iranians would convert some of their oil money into Sizzler missiles. With Sizzler missiles deployed the multi billion dollar United States aircraft carriers with their 5,500 man crews would be extremely vulnerable not only to crippling attacks but to being completely destroyed.
The Sizzler was developed with one thing only as its mission. That is to destroy aircraft carriers. Aircraft carriers are at the heart of any US offensive warfare strategy.
If indeed the carriers safety is gravely endangered by the Sizzler missile, and in the event of a conflict even one US carrier was lost, the prospect of an immediate escalation to nuclear weapons on the part of US naval battle groups would be high. Since the Sizzler is fired from a new class of fast and silent diesel powered submarines a “ring of fire” would likely be laid down by any remaining US aircraft carriers in the area in an effort to “clear” the area of any remaining threats.
The deployment of Sizzler missiles by countries that are potentially hostile to the US is a Pentagon war planners nightmare. No doubt a serious carrier incident in the Straits of Hormuz or in the Straits of Taiwan would have a lasting long term effect on US strategic planning.
The age of multi billion dollar aircraft carrier battle groups being able to quickly project American might into areas of the world defended by Sizzler missiles or perhaps more advanced future missile systems would likely come to an abrupt end.
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