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New Russian Weapon Hides In Shipping Container

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the now-you-see-it dept.

Security 618

shmG writes "A Russian company is marketing a devastating new cruise missile system that can be hidden inside a shipping container, giving any merchant vessel the capability to wipe out an aircraft carrier. Potential customers for the formidable 'Club-K' system include Kremlin allies Iran and Venezuela, say defense experts. They worry that countries could pass on the satellite-guided missiles, which are very hard to detect, to terrorist groups. This is a scary new development in the global arms race that allows for the proliferation of cruise missiles to anyone who will pay for them — even terrorists. This could be the next big thing in strategic weapons, as they can appear anywhere there is a container ship. The company even made a commercial and posted it onto the Internet." The article notes that a Russian defense expert said that "as far as he understood, the Club-K was still at the concept stage."

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618 comments

in soviet russia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31996454)

I have sex with your mom.

Containment (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31996466)

This threat must be contained

Re:Containment (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996736)

Yeah, you can try to stop one Russian company from selling these weapons, but this is nothing new. The French government sell weapons like this to anyone, try stopping them. :S

Oh, and thank you for a funny FP. :)

Re:Containment (2, Interesting)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#31997050)

Yeah, you can try to stop one Russian company from selling these weapons

Why should they not sell them?

I find it kinda hilarious with the "omg, this new weapon, it can be used for bad purposes!", no shit ..

Kinda the risk with all of them so one either have to decide if one want them at all or not. And I guess in reality maybe one really need them (though I would be somewhat ok with dropping them in a country or multiple ones as an experiment to see what would happen.)

Personally I dislike that people in my country (Sweden) are so against weapons trade at large since we seem to develop a lot ourselves (or well, nowadays with BAE systems I assume) since we don't want to depend on others and support local industry but why not take full advantage and sell it to as many as possible for lower cost and more profit? Yeah, war is bad, but why not take economic advantage / only take economic disadvantage from it? If we can produce it and someone want to buy it do it :D

Re:Containment (2, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996954)

I would say that it would be sufficient to ship the warhead in a container and then detonate it when it arrives at the right port.

A decent sized hydrogen bomb in a container would be able to cause some mess.

Re:Containment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31997052)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these...

Taking out capital ships? (4, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996486)

I really hope a single cruise missile can't take out an aircraft carrier, if they can, then you have far bigger problems that missiles in merchant ships. They or their escorts should have the defenses to evade or destroy most missile types.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (2, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996576)

Exactly my first thought.

I can't believe it's possible to get anything bigger than a football close enough to a cruiser, bypassing all anti-missile systems.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (5, Funny)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996614)

We once ordered a bulk shipment of used ISA abnd SCSI cards on ebay from Russia for a recycling project.

Due to a mix up at customs I received a mislabeled container destined for a well-known middle east state. Imagine my surprise when we opened it and found four fully-armed intercontinental nuclear cruise missiles. How we laughed. Needless to say we left negative feedback and returned the item. The sales manager was not happy AT ALL.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (5, Interesting)

delta98 (619010) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996656)

Hate to float a turd but... there has been a cruse missile with these capabilities for sometime now. The military won't generally acknowledge this fact because doing so would kill the budget for big carriers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS-N-22 [wikipedia.org] this is a link to an older type so feel free to correct me(as if /. needs an invite)-;.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (2, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996982)

Interesting. I couldn't find details anywhere of how big a warhead the Club-K can carry, but apparently it can hit Mach 3, which is also one of the things that makes the SS-N-22 so dangerous. Also found a £10,000,000 per container price tag [telegraph.co.uk], which doesn't seem to be mentioned elsewhere.

More importantly, though, what self respecting nation doesn't want to buy missiles that are advertised with the Pirates of the Carribean theme [youtube.com]!

Re:Taking out capital ships? (3, Informative)

warGod3 (198094) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996738)

Remember back a few years ago, an IED did some damage to the USS Cole (Arleigh Class Destroyer).

As for taking out a capital ship, such as a carrier, would require some planning, some skill and a damn good bit of coordination... good luck with that.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31997026)

Capital ships will simply have to maintain bigger distances. From the shore and from merchant ships. Depending on the warning time they get upon launch of these things. Potentially they will be forced to fire at commercial traffic. They won't be in real trouble.

A bigger problem is that due to the necessity of customs checking being on the shore, every American harbor has now become a launch site for Iranian missiles. God forbid that these missiles might be capable of carrying nuclear warheads (and might simply be targeted at the harbor they're launched in). A nuke straight into manhattan has just become a whole lot easier.

I'd mostly be afraid that it's going to become common knowledge that defending a capital ship is a hell of a lot easier than defending a city from attacks launched from a few dozen to a few hundred kilometers. If this weapon gets on anything except absolutely tiny scale muslims will have cut sea-based trading (cutting America off from 40% of it's oil, and Europe from close to 80-90%).

In the extreme the question (to Americans, and Europeans) forcibly becomes : which do you choose
1) a medieval economy, with de-facto lawlessness (due to the unavailability of many resources for police)
2) a totalitarian, but modern, economy, where one cannot move anything bigger than a suitcase around without police checking it regularly.

There is no doubt in my mind that most people, and 100% of politicians (after all, option 1 would destroy nearly all of their power), will choose option 2.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (4, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996748)

I can't believe it's possible to get anything bigger than a football close enough to a cruiser,

The trick is to pretend to be a rock band, and have Erika Eleniak in tow.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (4, Funny)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996812)

Surely then the defense is to ensure your ships cook is Steven Seagal?

Re:Taking out capital ships? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996856)

Surely then the defense is to ensure your ships cook is Steven Seagal?

Yep. I prefer the other solution though: cut the movie budget. That way, Erika would turn into some old hag who does movies for less, the Navy would see her from a distance, be horrified, and blow the helicopter out of the sky.

Nice headline, but not the main issue (2, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996626)

This has the potential to disrupt trade worldwide. If you can't trust any random container ship anymore (and there are many of those)... then trade will slowly grind to a halt. Remember that a very significant part of all trade is by container.

That's a much bigger problem to the world than the possibility that one boat owned by the USA is sunk.

This means that you can even have a weapon on a ship that is owned by a company from a friendly country (if they aren't careful and don't know the contents of the container).

I will invest in container scanners immediately...

Re:Nice headline, but not the main issue (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996664)

I will invest in container scanners immediately...

I'll be investing on automated container reception and delivery wharves.

Re:Nice headline, but not the main issue (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#31997054)

How does that help ? These containers are not meant to explode upon unloading. They are meant to launch missiles. God forbid they're capable of carrying nuclear payloads (if the commercial is realistic in the rocket's sizes, it seems to me the missile is certainly big enough for that). If this is actually used by anyone, America can no longer allow any trading ship within 500 miles (or whatever the range) of any American shore. And America will be forced to use immediate lethal force against any container ship that violates this.

Let's just kill everyone first, then we win (4, Interesting)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996908)

Seriously, the arms race combined with galloping technology progress is just the same as a death wish for everyone. There is no chance in hell of controlling it. Increasing miniaturization, lowering costs, easier manufacturing, simpler distribution. Soon, smaller and smaller fiefs of power with more and more intrigues among them, in addition to nations. Corporations, traffickers, pirates, guerrillas, terrorists, private security companies, crazies, military and politicians, anyone hungry for muscle power. I forgot to mention increasing power and capabilities, escalating the complexity of logistics and possibilities for smaller, easier to plan, quicker and deadlier attacks. The advancement of knowledge and progress required communication, trade, and trust. A high tech arms race, such as is now starting, will kill it. China, Japan, Europe, South America, everyone is building up weapons. If we want to continue evolving, and living, we better start talking negotiations. Contrary to wacky political manipulating statements, stockpiling weapons won't work forever, because history evolves, nothing stays the way it is, the future is not predictable, especially today.

Re:Nice headline, but not the main issue (1)

krou (1027572) | more than 3 years ago | (#31997024)

Agreed. As if we need to give military forces any more reason to target civilian infrastructure, shipping, railways, trains, trucks etc. Madness. Certain countries have long justified attacks on civilians and villages by claiming that that's where terrorists are located and are firing their weapons from; how is using this weapon any different to the condemned strategies of these terrorists? This is just another nail in the coffin of the Geneva Conventions.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (4, Insightful)

bertok (226922) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996674)

I really hope a single cruise missile can't take out an aircraft carrier, if they can, then you have far bigger problems that missiles in merchant ships. They or their escorts should have the defenses to evade or destroy most missile types.

Precisely.

First of all, carriers are escored by... carrier battle groups [wikipedia.org]!

The container ship would have to have a really good excuse for being anywhere near the group in the first place, and would then have to evade battleships on the way to the centre of the fleet where the carrier is, under the fire the whole way, and then the missile it launches will have to make it past the batteries of anti-missile systems like the Phalanx [wikipedia.org].

Err... no, this won't be taking down aircraft carriers any time soon.

What it could do however is allow the equivalent of guerrilla warfare on the high seas. Container ships could target cruise liners, merchant vessels, etc... and if nobody was around to see the attack, they might even make it away and claim innocence later. Even the survivors wouldn't see much, because it's fairly simple to attack "over the horizon".

Re:Taking out capital ships? (5, Insightful)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996764)

While I agree that the defensive armament of a carrier battle group is intended to defend against precisely this sort of attack, the container ship would not have to be near: this sort of cruise missile typically has ranges of the order of 200 miles. You cannot enforce a 200 mile radius exclusion circle round your battle group. The missile will fly most of this distance at the height of a hundred or sofeet, so it is vulnerable only as it approaches the screening ships - which is why they are there.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (4, Informative)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996888)

Something further to point out, if enough dollars were thrown at this, how many such 4 missile containers could you fit in a single height on a typical container ship?

Lets see, the biggest ships, emma maersk, can have (if they load a little light) 506 40' containers with open top, these suckers look like the longer 80' type tho, and would likely need some extra room for the hinge system on the end.... lets say 126 launch containers with 4 cruise missiles each. I want to see the carrier battle group that can stop that many incoming missiles :)

Re:Taking out capital ships? (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996804)

It's a cruise missile not a crossbow. It doesn't have to be anywhere near the battle group when it's fired.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31997082)

Yeah, they would have to be so close to the carrier, which is impossible. Heck, they'd have to be inside the battle group [dailymail.co.uk] or something.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (5, Interesting)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996726)

Never mind the offensive capability, this system has to be one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard. You never, ever, ever camouflage your military systems to look like civilian infrastructure. If you do, you leave your opponent with no choice but to blow up your privately owned merchant marine, your trucks and every cargo container it can see. Part of the reason Germany started using unrestricted submarine warfare was the my countries use of Q-ships. Part of the reason civilian casualties in Gaza are so high is 'police stations' and 'schools' that are anything but.
Is the idea here to sell this product to countries looking to get their civilians killed for propaganda purposes?

Re:Taking out capital ships? (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996774)

The ides is to sell it to countries with military budgets but not much clue. Many of the high tech weapons sold to third world countries are essentially useless for their real military needs. But they make the generals feel good, and therefore support the dictator (or even elected president) who keeps buying such toys for the only group with the realistic possibility of toppling him.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996900)

So paint a big red target on the side of the container.

It seems like a reasonably sensible idea to be able to rapidly turn a civilian ship/train/truck into a missile launch system, for a country that can't afford to have that much military infrastructure sitting unused. There's no real reason that they have to look like any other old container. The tactical choice to be made is, of course, whether the risk is greater from potentially having your enemies target civilians, or from having your cruise missile stations very easily identified.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 3 years ago | (#31997060)

I got no problem with that suggestion. I'm not sure that is what will happen in practice but I got no problem with it. Navies have been using converted civilian ships for years.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (2, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996756)

This is, however, the sad truth. Aircraft carriers nowadays are very vulnerable beasts. I read that it is acknowledged that in the case of a conflict against Iran, all the US navy in the Persian Gulf would be sunk within hours. One may joke about Russian tech, but they are good at one thing : building missiles that bypass American protections.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31996816)

The US has stopped design and production of air carriers like 2 years ago following the release of some Russian made new type of missile. (www.voltair

But I think they'll keep the carriers running, for Holywood productions and humanitarian aid :-)

Re:Taking out capital ships? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31996958)

> I really hope a single cruise missile can't take out an aircraft carrier,

Quote from "Peculiarities of the National Fishing" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185584/). "[Commander of corvette/missile ship:] I can sink aircraft carrier. ... If I get lucky."

You can sink or disable lots of things with little luck and 300-400 of HE or 200kT nuclear bomb.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996986)

I really hope a single cruise missile can't take out an aircraft carrier, if they can, then you have far bigger problems that missiles in merchant ships. They or their escorts should have the defenses to evade or destroy most missile types.

I put this down to marketing hype. It probably means that it would stand a chance of killing some older small carriers on a good day. I doubt if a fully updated Nimitz-class carrier would have much to worry about, at most they will be on a slightly higher state of alert when coming close to unrecognised container ships.

Re:Taking out capital ships? (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 3 years ago | (#31997000)

Yeah, that's about as reasonable as classifying every inhabitant of a country that disguises soldiers as civilians as legitimate military targets.

Way to go, Rambo! Keep shooting those goodwill bullets!

Oh, and by the way, if you're an American ... even your own generals now realize that half of winning the war is in winning the trust of people, not shooting them.

The world is being run by a pack of baboons (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996492)

Is this a response to yesterday's story about the USA's dick-waving about building new missiles that can reach anywhere on Earth...?

Cruise Missile (3, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996806)

But this one takes about 2 weeks to go around Alaska, stopping by the scenic routes along the way.

Re:The world is being run by a pack of baboons (1)

dragisha (788) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996980)

Exactly my thought.... Arms race is, well, race... And nobody won it to date.

Let's hope nobody will.

Makes total sense for certain uses (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996494)

Actually when I read this earlier in today's news paper I thought it makes total sense from a military/strategic point of view. And I was actually wondering why no-one else had thought of this before. Or maybe they are just not advertising it openly.

When it comes to transportation and handling of the equipment, a shipping container is great as it is standardised and fits easily on vessels, trains, trucks, and can be handled with standard lifting equipment.

The down side of course is the disappearance of the civil/military divide, which of course has already happened in many conflicts.

Re:Makes total sense for certain uses (2, Insightful)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996574)

Well if you take into account that part of winning a war is limiting your adversaries access to resources this makes perfect sense. If you go to war with the US you are pretty sure that they will try and dominate the skies, and with their numerical advantage in most conflicts this will soon be the case.

Now you are limited to shipping, and if you can arm your merchants you have a way of potentially protecting your lifelines. In WWII this was what kept Britain alive, being able to protect their merchants against attacks by Germany.

Re:Makes total sense for certain uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31996682)

mh. there are a lot of disadvantages to in deploying this kind of masquerade stuff

first and foremost, the truck and train example will rely on your roads and rails to be in working condition, civil vehicles are not suitable for heavy off road like military launchers truck. your infrastructure will be hit long before any serious military engagement with tanks and stuff.

second, the little chance you had of keeping naval trading for food and medical supply alive will be lost due of enemy targeting now both your militar and civil ships, just to be sure.

third, having them deployed on non military grade equipement will leave you very exposed to electronic warfare. to rely on an external satellite guidance system would have be a good idea in the '70, but now almost every country have / can purchase the ability of shot down satellites and to jam satellite communications

We're still preparing our military with the conception of WWII style warfare. This won't work, as it didn't worked preparing to WWII assuming WWI like engagements (the Maginot line for example)

Re:Makes total sense for certain uses (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996714)

You are wrong. Sweden and Switzerland use a similar concepts with their strategic reserve of fighters and bombers, concealing them in overgrown bunkers. The planes take off from... ordinary asphalted roads.

Re:Makes total sense for certain uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31996948)

both of which saw a lot of engagement in world war II, indeed proving that their strategy do work...

only not.

Re:Makes total sense for certain uses (2, Interesting)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996702)

Exactly. Churchill, after the war, once admitted that the only thing that could have had the Germans winning the war would have been more investments in submarines, thus destroying more of the allied fleets. He ( Churchill ) said that is was the only possibility that had kept him out of his sleep during the war.

Nice panic attack (4, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996504)

Mentioning terrorists, Iran and Venezuela. Dude, they missed mentioning children that could buy it over the Internet.

From a pure technical geek point of view, this is a great idea. I am sure that many US weapon makers now will start doing the same thing. Perhaps with a different marketing where they say it is a weapon that can be easily transported to any area where it is needed without the need of specialized transport vehicles, thus reducing the price.

Re:Nice panic attack (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996592)

Mentioning terrorists, Iran and Venezuela. Dude, they missed mentioning children that could buy it over the Internet.

People have to be afraid of some baddies, even fictitious ones, to forget about the economy. It has worked since the dawn of times, why change now? When the US considers a small and poor country like Cuba to be such a huge threat, what would you expect?

Simple resolution (4, Insightful)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996526)

There is a simple resolution to this new weapon: countries known to be in the market for it will have their civilian merchant fleet classified as legitimate military targets.

Re:Simple resolution (1)

dnix (831940) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996648)

You are right, capitalism in weapon production impose strong market regulation! Anyway, when you read on NYT, why are only Russian's weapons called "deadly"? Is the new missiles that can reach anywhere on Earth built in US a "great achievement"?

Re:Simple resolution (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996862)

Because the US missile just delievers a small flag that has the word "BANG" written in large colourful letters.

Re:Simple resolution (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996950)

Because there's a clear journalistic bias. A bias that sells papers.

Reality, of course, is American weapons are quite good at very deadly.

War = lies. (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996998)

You are right, capitalism in weapon production impose strong market regulation! Anyway, when you read on NYT, why are only Russian's weapons called "deadly"? Is the new missiles that can reach anywhere on Earth built in US a "great achievement"?

Standard public brainwashing, all sides always do this. The other side builds death and destruction, your side builds peace maintenance, courage and strength. And stops evil. Bla bla bla to make young soldiers want to kill and die. And, gotta make the public hate and fear the other side so they keep collaborating to war, otherwise they won't be into it.

Re:Simple resolution (2, Insightful)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 3 years ago | (#31997016)

Yeah, that's about as reasonable as classifying every inhabitant of a country that disguises soldiers as civilians as legitimate military targets.

Way to go, Rambo! Keep shooting those goodwill bullets!

Oh, and by the way, if you're an American ... even your own generals now realize that half of winning the war is in winning the trust of people, not shooting them...

Re:Simple resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31997048)

How will that help when the missile is deployed on a Panama flagged freighter owned by a Singaporean holding company, leased to another company on the Cayman Islands? National merchant fleets are a thing of the past.

viral? (2, Interesting)

mrthoughtful (466814) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996540)

How sure is anyone that this isn't some viral for a computer game?
The graphics are all cg - even the local russians say it's just a concept.
The company doesn't even have press liaison.

Re:viral? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31996676)

The sounds and the feeling on the video was like from Red Alert.

Also it does not show any specifications of the weapon either, such as length, height, weight... Which one would think are interesting details even though one could measure it by eyes from the video "hey it fits to the back of truck", but I don't think I'd buy that weapon based on that video.

Re:viral? (1)

sciencewatcher (1699186) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996706)

The Israeli intelligence community has stated it's viewpoint. http://www.debka.com/article/8742/ [debka.com] They don't want the Russians to sell this weapon on the market. Whatever your thoughts on the Israeli intelligence community, it is always good to read and understand their opinion. (And usually it's best to incorporate their opinion into your own, that is, if you enjoy your freedoms in the Western hemisphere.)

Re:viral? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996710)

I hope they got permission from Walt Disney to use the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack in their advertisement.

Saying that, though, if the tech is real I don't think Walt Disney will complain much.

Re:viral? (1)

qwerty8ytrewq (1726472) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996818)

I look forward to cruise missiles disguised as replica wooden pirate ships, or a real version of the satanic mickey mouse from Southpark wooping some ass. Maybe Disney made the vid, 'cause they are getting into the international arms business to protect their copyrights.

Re:viral? (1)

stupid_is (716292) | more than 3 years ago | (#31997036)

[pedant]I assume you're referring to the "Born Free" snippet at the start of the Youtube clip. Shame it didn't appear in PotC, but was instead in Madagascar - by Dreamworks - so copyright is probably owned by Paramount although the origins are in 1966 [wikipedia.org][/pedant].

I agree that they probably didn't ask, though :-)

Not only that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31997056)

...they also snagged some of the theme music from C&c generals if I'm not entirely mistaken. In fact the whole concept might as well have been taken from whatever sequel to the latest C&c game EA is working on at the moment. I smell a viral advert for a new RTS game.

Depends on the guidance system, I guess (3, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996558)

Unsophisticated missiles are not THAT hard to get a hold of already, ranging from Palestinian homebrews to enhanced Scuds.
But they don't have a great success rate, especially against military targets, and notably naval ones.
Exocets, on the other hand, do have a good success rate, and can be launched from improvised platforms, as proven by the Argentines during the Falklands conflict.
Whilst a major asset such as carrier is normally well-protected by a screen of other ships, it could be very vulnerable when in confined areas, such as the Straits of Hormuz...
Would the Russian Government be happy to hand-out weapons that could just as easily be used against them? Maybe not.
It's perhaps more likely that the Iranians will develop increasingly sophisticated weapons themselves. They're already quite well advanced...

this is news? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31996560)

the Soviets had mobile *ICBMS* for decades, namely the RT-2UTTH Topol M. No fancy container, but really, with an ICBM who gives a shit?

I don't believe this is new (2, Interesting)

pantherace (165052) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996566)

I seem to recall at least one proposal for the 'arsenal ships' aka ships with lots of missiles towed off the coast, to have been made from converting container ships, after someone looked at the costs and decided purpose built ships were too expensive, before the idea was killed. The idea became to be able to use commercial ships for relatively little cost.

A few reasons it was killed (at least as any kind of surface ship):
Put a WHOLE bunch of really expensive munitions on a slow target. With minimal defenses. Defending them requires purpose built navy ships. Meaning that the savings of proposing that, just evaporated.
Even the inefficiencies of Aircraft carriers, are a lot less than using a cruise missile for each target.
Modern naval ships don't have much in the way of armor, compounding the problem of defense.
By the time you fit it with defense to protect the cargo, you might as well go ahead and build a more conventional warship (with extra VLS)

There is one example where the concept more or less did happen though, in the refitted SSBNs to SSGNs, with lots of Tomahawk missiles. They don't suffer from having to have lots of defense of a surface target, and have advantages in stealth.

Re:I don't believe this is new (1)

stephenpeters (576955) | more than 3 years ago | (#31997022)

Why bother defending the launch ship? If you buy a container ship near the end of it's life and fill it with ISO containers with a couple of missile containers on top you can easily get close enough to a target without looking suspicious. Once you have fired all the missiles at a target it doesn't matter if someone sinks the expendable container ship. If you can afford to buy a modern missile system the cost of an old expendable container ship should not pose any real problems. You even get plausible deniability as a bonus.

Anonymous coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31996578)

A natural response to USA developing weapons that can reach any point on Earth is a weapon that can reach USA from anywhere on Earth. Container missile looks like a good candidate for such job.

Janes is slipping (5, Informative)

SlayerofGods (682938) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996594)

"The idea that you can hide a missile system in a box and drive it around without anyone knowing is pretty new," said Hewson, who is editor of Jane's Air-Launched Weapons.

"Nobody's ever done that before."
Most [wikipedia.org] missiles [wikipedia.org] on [wikipedia.org] ships [wikipedia.org] are [wikipedia.org].
Sure there are some that aren't [wikipedia.org] but most of those are land based where conditions are a little more friendly.
Sure making it look like a shiping conatiner maybe new, but missiles in boxes is hardly cutting edge stuff.

Where do I invest? (1)

commlinx (1068272) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996596)

Looks like pretty cool tech. Guessing from the promo video they will make a killing in Second Life. TFA doesn't say how much in Linden Dollars though?

lol the video (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996612)

lol at the super lengthy youtube video to go along with it. Also it's just more ways for terrorist type countries/organizations to put civilians in the line of fire.

Re:lol the video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31997012)

You mean more excuses for US soldiers to slaughter random civilians ;)

Cruise Missiles Aren't That Hard To Build (3, Interesting)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996618)

If you're not too specific about the target, say you just want to hit somewhere in the middle of a large city, it's not too hard to deliver a thousand pounds of high explosives a distance of a few hundred miles.

It was done with 1940s technology: the V-1 Buzz Bomb.

Do you know how the V-1 knew it was time to dive down at its target? It had a small propeller at the front, that would spin from the onrushing air. After a certain number of rotations, the engine would be cut off, and it would plummet to the ground to explode.

Re:Cruise Missiles Aren't That Hard To Build (1)

qwerty8ytrewq (1726472) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996832)

I think they just let them run out of fuel too. Random hits is a classic terror tactic.

M.A.S.K. is the IP rights holder to this tech... (1)

DontScotty (978874) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996630)

M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand)

Thunderhawk - Chevy Camaro G3 and Fighter Jet Plane
Rhindo - Semi Tractor with Missile Launching Capacity
Gator - Jeep CJ7 with included detachable battle-boat
Condor - Motorcycle that can switch to single occupant helicopter weapons platform
Hurricane - A 1957 Chevy which turns into a six-wheeled attack tank
Piranha - Motorcycle with submarine sidecar

Without these weapon systems, we could NEVER have expected container mounted missile systems.

Kenner should sue!

(oh, and live action footage of vehicles transforming into battle mode can be seen via liveleak at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0dd_1187202294 [liveleak.com] )

aircraft carriers have been death traps for a whil (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31996634)

Aircraft carriers have been floating death traps for a while already, see these links:

In 2004, Paul Van Riper trashes US fleet in a simulation using zergrush tactics (lots of small crappy boats and planes). Navy brass decide that was cheating and refloat their fleet thus ignoring the weaknesses revealed by the war game.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A28161-2002Aug16

This link seems to be down, anyone can find the article (don't have time atm)? IIRC Chinese sub in 2006 off the coast of japan surfaces undetected within torpedo range of a US carrier during a war game. "Gotchya!"
http://washingtontimes.com/national/20061113-121539-3317r.htm

More war-game humiliation as another chinese sub in 2007 surfaces within torpedo range of a US carrier within torp range.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id =492804&in_page_id=1811

Chinese subs turn back US fleet for thanksgiving. Good on 'em, it's their water!
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21939749/

Re:aircraft carriers have been death traps for a w (2, Interesting)

u38cg (607297) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996858)

If I was the US Navy, I'd let my opponents think they were better than they are too. Though since the US hasn't fought any meaningful naval engagements lately, it's difficult to tell.

This is nothing. Think of the Syrians. (5, Interesting)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996678)

Syria has ballistic missiles that can reach anywhere in Israel, that are armed with VX nerve gas. While the Syrians don't have nuclear bombs. a mist of VX at a moderate altitude over an Israeli city might as well be.

I never, ever read about this in the press, nor do I hear anyone talk about it. But it's not any kind of secret - I found it on some US government disarmament website. My guess is that no one talks about it for fear of making things worse.

While they (mostly) don't admit it, the Israelis are known to have a few hundred nuclear weapons. No doubt they have hydrogen bombs. While they don't openly test, there was what was thought to be a nuclear test in the ocean off of South Africa a while back. Even if they don't test, Israel has no shortage of smart people, or computers capable of accurate numerical modeling.

Do you know the song Ninety Nine Red Balloons? The original German was Neun und Neunzig Luft Balon (SP?). I understand it was inspired by a wayward bundle of helium balloons that was mistaken by the Soviets as a missile launch.

Some people say I'm paranoid. Such people just aren't paying attention.

Re:This is nothing. Think of the Syrians. (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996864)

a mist of VX at a moderate altitude over an Israeli city might as well be.

I'd say it'd be even worse than a nuclear bomb. Weaponized VX can, if the wind direction is right, can theoretically "cleanse" a small country of any advanced life forms without those pesky side effects such as irradiation preventing a later conquest. Sure, nukes are great bunker busters and their symbolic effect is not to be understated - but if you want to go for true mass destruction, nerve gas is much more effective.

A missile in a shipping container.... (3, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996716)

...is like a cellphone without a charger. It's pretty much useless by itself. You still need the sensors to locate the carrier, which isn't trivial. Especially since carriers don't tend to let just anybody linger in their vicinity. (And I bet 'satellite guided' means nothing more sinister than GPS. Useful for guidance, useless for targeting.)

Even handwaving those into existence, you still need to deal with the carriers defenses. Even if you manage to get one or two through the defenses (a tall order), they aren't going to destroy the carrier short of carrying nuclear weapons. The best you can hope for is to send it back to the yards for a bit of surgery. Depending on where it hits, you might not even slow down flight operations.

If you watch the video linked in the summary, you'll note they downplay the massive cloud of toxic exhaust that will be produced with each launch - something few merchies will be rigged to handle.

This isn't news, its olds... (4, Interesting)

anarche (1525323) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996728)

In 1941 a gunship "disguised" as a merchant ship sunk the HMAS Sydney http://www.naa.gov.au/about-us/publications/fact-sheets/fs111.aspx [naa.gov.au]

Sure this one's a missile, but anyone who thought merchant ships weren't a threat needs to read history.

Privateers! Letters of Marque and Reprisal! (3, Interesting)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996874)

It's in the US Constitution and everything: the US Congress has the authority to order civilian merchant ships to do battle.

Nice... (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996732)

...for Israel, and other small nations fighting several neighbors at once. Israel could fire these from an innocent-looking container carrier near Cyprus, and hit Damascus. I had a look at the video. Well done. Would make perfect sense for small countries to possess.

The US Army just cancelled a similar project (1)

DarenN (411219) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996790)

The US Army justcancelled a similar project [armytimes.com] although their version was rather smaller than a shipping container, because in testing it didn't meet some of the requirements (i believe it was the IR seeking mode that was problematic) and because it would have cost ~$200k per missile (it costs ~$500k at the moment).

Apparently the technology was 90% ready ,though.

Not sure I like the idea of this. There are too many crazies with access to the kind of money that makes this viable

More than that... (3, Insightful)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996842)

Quite independently of whether that weapon is vaporware or not, the fact remains that advances in military hardware will end up percolating to the general public, if said public has enough money. What some years away were classified chips nowadays are available off-the-shelf. Guidance software, once leaked, is easy to copy. A disgruntled scientist is all that is needed to transfer loads of tech. Everybody keeps getting better at making things that fly. Look at the advance of the Chinese weaponry in the last years. They simply throw enough money at it, and they got mostly all the tech they needed. In some years, everybody and its dog will have enough firepower to down an aircraft carrier. I've seen posts saying that they should be able to block most missiles. Well, that's all right, except when you are faced with a hundred of them at the same time.

In a similar note, I'm not altogether sure that the recent move to the "non-nuclear ICBM" is a smart one. People are scared of using nuclear weapons, which is a sound attitude. That leads to treaties of non proliferation and generic agreement on not allowing the aforesaid proliferation. But that doesn't apply to other explosives, even if you are equally dead by a bullet than by a H-bomb. So what is now a cutting-edge technology (nnICBMs), will in ten years perhaps be available to mostly anybody in the world, and there is no non-proliferation treaty to pursue anybody for it.

Why should US be only one with cruise missiles? (1)

gig (78408) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996880)

If you are an American and this scares you, then good. War can't be one-sided forever.

The music (4, Funny)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 3 years ago | (#31996882)

The choice of music is hilarious!

"Born Free" during the opening beach scene.
"Pirates of the Caribbean" during the missile launch.
And even "Command and Conquer"'s victory music at the very end of the clip.

At least we know the RIAA/MPAA can send take down notices to get this "arms deal commercial" removed =P

Cold War Symbology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31997002)

Anyone notice how the tanks look like US made M1A2 tanks?

Anyone notice how the 'good' country was red, and the 'evil' country was blue?

Good to see Russians still think we are at war.

Carriers are dead in the water (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#31997058)

Their time has passed; the only reason why we don't know it yet is because we haven't had the war that will settle the matter. If WWII didn't occur we'd still be under the misapprehension that the battleship is the queen of the seas. You don't tend to see the abandonment of a series of tactics and technology that have been successful in the past until they have led to utter ruin in a modern war. It took the tank to finally settle the question of cavalry's supremacy and it still took two world wars to drive that point home. The Italians made mounted charges against the Soviets. Whoops. According to the records, the stories of Polish mounted charges against the Wermacht were propaganda.

Whose Arms Race ? (2, Interesting)

Mr Europe (657225) | more than 3 years ago | (#31997076)

When ever a new type of weapon is developed outside USA it's "a scary new development in the global arms race" but really WHO is the biggest weapon developer with a huge margin ?

You've seen it in the news: when a US company is developing, let's say, a new material, the first possible solution is for military. Like there wasn't any other problems than security in our world.

USA has a supremacy in military power. Today's security related threads USA is facing can not be solved with developing new weapons.

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