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P-120/P-50 Malakhit
(NATO reporting name: SS-N-9 'Siren')

P-120 Malakhit medium range cruise missile
Type Anti-shipping missile
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1972–current
Used by Russia
Production history
Designer Zvezda
Manufacturer OKB-52 MAP (later NPO Mashinostroyeniye)
Weight 2,953 kg (6,510 lb)
Length 8.84 m (29.0 ft)
Diameter 76.2 cm (30.0 in)

Warhead HE or nuclear
Warhead weight 500 kg (1,100 lb)

Wingspan 2.1 m (6.9 ft)
Propellant Turbojet, solid fuel
Sub: 70 km (40 nmi)
Ship: 110 km (60 nmi)
Speed Mach 0.9
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[1]) is a Russian medium range anti-ship missile used by corvettes and submarines. It has a range of up to 110 kilometres (60 nmi).[2] Introduced in 1972, it remains in service but has been superseded by the SS-N-22 Sunburn.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.

Operational history

The 'Siren' entered service on corvettes of the Soviet Navy on March 17, 1972.[3] It would be installed on Nanuchka-class and Tarantul-class corvettes.[4] About 500 missiles were produced.

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.

It saw action in 2008 in the hands of the Russian Black Sea Fleet during the action off Abkhazia, where it was used successfully against the Georgian Navy.[5]


 Soviet Union


External links

  • MARITIME STRIKE The Soviet Perspective
  • Russian/Sovjet Sea-based Anti-Ship Missiles (pdf)
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