I have often said that when the East Europeans agreed to deploy the US “it is against Iran but really it is against Russia” anti-missile system all they did was paint a big bullseye on themselves. This is not quite so, in reality they painted not one, but two big bullseyes on themselves. The first one are the Russian Spetsnaz forces, but that is not the one I want to focus on today. The second one is the Iskander-M Operational-Tactical Missile System.
“Operational-Tactical” refers to the missions and capabilities of what is a family of missiles which can be fired from the Iskander Transporter erector launcher (TEL) which includes ballistic as well as cruise missile and short range as well as intermediate range missiles. The actual numbers are, of course, kept secret, but it appears that the range of these missiles can, depending on the model and configuration, be anywhere between 250km to 500km and with some variant capable of reaching 2000km. According to Wikipedia, the missile is a “stealthy” one, meaning it has a very small radar cross section, it can execute evasive maneuvers with 30G turns, it flies at hypersonic speeds (max 6-7) and it can be remotely controlled from ground operators, UAV and even AWACS aircraft. The missile also uses satellite guidance and optical terminal guidance. Best of all, it’s accuracy is officially an excellent a 5-7 meters, which means that in reality the Russian (non-export) variant probably has a 2-3 meter CEP. The missile’s conventional warhead types include including a cluster munition warhead, a fuel-air explosive enhanced-blast warhead, a tactical earth penetrator for bunker busting and an electro-magnetic pulse device (EMP) for anti-radar missions (source). The missile can also carry a 5-50 kiloton nuclear warhead. One way to sum this entire paragraph up is to say that there is no way to escape the Iskander-M.
Well done, East Europeans, I hope that you feel “safer” now…
Here is an interesting video showing the launch and strike of the Iskander-M on a simulated enemy command post. Enjoy!