The world’s top air-to-surface missiles

1 November 2019 (Last Updated January 29th, 2020 12:42)

From Lockheed Martin's JASSM-ER to Raduga's Kh-58UShKE, Airforce Technology lists the world’s top air-to-surface missiles by range.

The world’s top air-to-surface missiles
The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) has a maximum range of 926km. Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.

From Lockheed Martin’s JASSM-ER to Raduga’s Kh-58UShKE, Airforce Technology lists the world’s top air-to-surface missiles by range. The list excludes nuclear-armed air-to-surface missiles and air-launched ballistic missiles.

Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-ER (JASSM-ER) – 926km

The world's top air-to-surface missiles
The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) has a maximum range of 926km. Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.

The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) was developed by Lockheed Martin primarily for the US defence forces. The missile is currently in service with the US Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Finnish Air Force, and Polish Air Force.

The long-range, air-to-surface missile uses infrared seeker and digital anti-jam GPS/inertial measurement unit guidance to engage high-value, well-fortified, stationary, and mobile targets in highly defended environments.

The JASSM-ER weighs approximately 1,000kg and can carry a 450kg blast fragmentation warhead. It can engage targets at a maximum distance of 926km with pinpoint accuracy. The missile is compatible with B-1B, B-52, F-16, and F-15E aircraft.

LRASM – 555km

The world's top air-to-surface missiles
A Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) being integrated on F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. Image courtesy of U.S. Navy.

The Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) is a new generation anti-ship standoff missile based on the combat-proven JASSM-ER missile. Lockheed Martin is offering the LRASM in air and surface-launched configurations.

The subsonic missile employs semi-autonomous guidance and a multi-mode electro-optical seeker. It carries a 450kg penetrating blast fragmentation warhead to a maximum range of 555km.

The LRASM can penetrate advanced integrated air defence systems while its long-range ensures the engagement of hostile targets that are beyond the reach of direct counter-fire weapons.

Taurus KEPD 350 – 500km

The world's top air-to-surface missiles
The TAURUS KEPD 350 missile can engage targets at a maximum range of 500km.

The TAURUS KEPD 350 is a modern, high-precision modular stand-off missile system offered by TAURUS Systems, a joint venture of LFK-Lenkflugkörpersysteme and Saab Dynamics.

It is in service with the German, Spanish and Republic of Korea air forces.

The air-launched cruise missile is guided by a combination of GPS/INS with terrain reference and image-based navigation to engage strongly hardened and high-value point and area targets within a 500km range.

The missile carries a 481kg dual-stage warhead to destroy stationary and semi-stationary targets in all weather conditions. Powered by a high-thrust turbofan engine, the KEPD 350 offers high manoeuvrability at low and high subsonic speeds.

BrahMos Air-Launched Missile – 300km

The world's top air-to-surface missiles
A BrahMos air-launched missile being launched by a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft. Image courtesy of Indian Air Force, Government of India.

The BrahMos air-launched missile forms part of the BrahMos medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile family developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture of NPO Mashinostroyeniya of Russia and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India.

The Indian Air Force test-fired the missile for the first time from a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft in November 2017. The BrahMos air-launched configuration employs an inertial navigation system, active radar homing, and GPS/satellite guidance systems.

Powered by a solid-fuel rocket booster and a liquid-fuelled ramjet engine, the supersonic missile delivers a conventional warhead weighing up to 300kg for a maximum range of 300km.

RBS-15 – 300km

The world's top air-to-surface missiles
The RBS-15 Gungnir can strike targets at a maximum range of 300km. Image courtesy of Swadim.

The RBS-15 Gungnir is a long-range air-to-surface/anti-ship missile developed by Saab. The latest variant of the missile, RBS15 Mk4, is available in air-launched, ship-launched, and land-based platform-launched configurations.

The missile measures 4.35m-long and weighs 810kg with boosters. It is equipped with active radar seeker to engage manoeuvring ships at sea and stationary land targets. The subsonic missile uses INS and anti-jam navigation to engage targets at a maximum range of 300km.

The RBS-15 missile carries a 200kg high-explosive blast and pre-fragmented warhead. Powered by a turbojet engine, the missile can engage targets in adverse weather and cluttered environments.

Kh-59MK2 – 285km

The world's top air-to-surface missiles
The Kh-59MK2 extended-range air-to-surface missile carries a 320kg penetrating warhead. Image courtesy of www.roe.ru.

The Kh-59MK2 extended-range air-to-surface missile is a variant of the Kh-59M TV-guided air-launched missile developed by ‘Raduga’ State Engineering Design Bureau of Russia. It can be integrated with MiG-35, Su-30MK, Su-32, Su-35, and Su-24M aircraft.

The missile is guided by an active radar seeker to engage radar-contrast surface targets at a maximum range of 285km, during day or night, in adverse weather conditions. It weighs 930kg at launch and delivers a 320kg penetrating warhead.

Powered by a solid-fuel rocket motor and a turbofan engine, the Kh-59MK missile can travel at a maximum speed of 1,050km/h.

Kh-35UE – 260km

The world's top air-to-surface missiles
The Kh-35UE air-to-surface/anti-ship missile has a maximum range of 260km. Image courtesy of www.roe.ru.

The Kh-35UE air-to-surface/anti-ship missile is a modern variant of the Kh-35E air-launched missile. It is in service with the Russian Navy, Indian Navy, and the Vietnamese People’s Navy.

The high-subsonic missile offers improved performance and range than its predecessor. It is guided by inertial and satellite navigation systems, as well as an active-passive radar seeker, which ensure better accuracy, and resistance against jamming. The advanced seeker further offers a 50km lock-on range compared with the 20km range of the Kh-35E.

Fitted with a 145kg high-explosive fragmentation penetrator warhead, the Kh-35UE missile is available in aircraft and helicopter-launched versions, which can strike targets within the range of 260km.

Storm Shadow/SCALP – 250km

The world's top air-to-surface missiles
A Tornado GR4 aircraft of the UK Royal Air Force carrying two Storm Shadow missiles under the fuselage. Image courtesy of Geoff Lee/MOD.

The Storm Shadow/SCALP is a long-range deep strike missile designed by MBDA to meet the challenging needs of pre-programmed strikes against high-value fixed and mobile land-based targets. The combat-proven missile is deployed from Typhoon, Rafale, Mirage 2000, and Tornado aircraft fleet operated by six air forces.

It uses guidance from GPS/INS and terrain reference navigation systems, as well as an infrared (IR) imaging seeker and automatic target recognition to engage targets with minimal collateral damage.

Powered by a turbojet engine, the Storm Shadow missile can carry a blast/penetrator warhead weighing up to 450kg. It is capable of attacking targets at a maximum distance of 250km.

Stand-Off Missile (SOM) – 250km

The world's top air-to-surface missiles
The Stand-Off Missile (SOM) family includes SOM-A, SOM-B1 and SOM-B2 versions. Image courtesy of Noblemouse.

The Stand-Off Missile (SOM) family, manufactured by Roketsan, includes SOM-A, SOM-B1, and SOM-B2 missile variants, which can be launched by F-4 and F-16 fighter jets. The missile is in service with the Turkish Air Force and Azerbaijan Air Force.

The SOM-A and B1 versions deliver a 230kg high-explosive blast/fragmentation warhead while the B2 version can carry a 230kg tandem penetrator warhead. Each variant is guided by an image infrared seeker, as well as GPS, INS, terrain reference, and image-based navigation systems.

The cruise missile is propelled by a turbojet engine, which ensures a high-subsonic speed of Mach 0.9. It can engage heavily defended surface or mobile naval targets at a maximum range of 250km.

Kh-58UShKE – 245km

The world's top air-to-surface missiles
The Kh-58UShKE anti-radiation missile offers a maximum range of 245km. Image courtesy of www.roe.ru.

The Kh-58UShKE anti-radiation missile was developed by ‘Raduga’ State Machine-Building Design Bureau to engage the radar infrastructure of Hawk, Nike Hercules, Patriot, and other surface-to-air missiles (SAM) systems.

The supersonic missile features a passive radar homing head and an automatic control system based on a platform-free navigation system. It can be launched from catapult launchers fitted to the external stations of modern aircraft such as MiG-35, Su-30MK, Su-32, and Su-35.

The Kh-58UShKE missile weighs 650kg and carries a 149kg high-explosive warhead to a maximum range of 245km.


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