3M-54 Kalibr (Klub) missile is considered one of the weapons that give power to Russia’s Kilo-class submarines.
The Kalibr missile weighs 2 tons, is launched from a 533mm torpedo tube on a Kilo-class submarine. 3M54 missile carries a warhead weighing 200 kg. The anti-ship version had a range of 300 km and a speed of up to 3,000 km/h in the last few minutes of the final phase. In addition, there are air-launched and surface-launched variants. The ground attack variant does not have high speed in the final stages, so can carry larger warheads up to 400 kg.
What makes the Kilo submarine’s Kalibr missile particularly dangerous is its final stage. At this time, the missile suddenly accelerated to an altitude of only about 30m. With a relatively high speed in the final stage, meaning that the missile travels the last 15 km in less than 20 seconds at extremely low altitudes, making it very difficult for enemy defenses to intercept the 3M54 missile.
The 3M54 is similar to Russia’s Cold War anti-ship missiles such as the 3M80 Moskit and the P-700 Granite. The Russian cruise missile lacks combat experience and has a reputation for being rather erratic. The real quality of this missile is still questioned by Western observers. Even so, Moscow still believes that the warships of some countries in the region do not have effective enough defense systems to defend against missiles like the Kalibr. Therefore, Kalibr is still a weapon that gives Vietnam an advantage.
The Kilo-class submarines have a surface displacement of 2,300 tons, and 4,000 tons at full load submerged. It was armed with six torpedo tubes and has a crew of 52. Vietnamese Kilo has a range of about 740 km at 3 knots, and can reach a maximum speed of 20 knots when submerged. Kilo can operate at sea continuously 45 days. The combination of stealth capabilities and cruise missiles, makes Kilo submarines very dangerous to enemy ships.
With Kalibr missiles, Vietnam is the only military in the world besides Russia, possessing all 3 types of the world’s most advanced and fearsome anti-ship cruise missiles, including Kh-35E on surface ships and Su-30 fighters; Yakhont missile of the Bastion-P coastal defense missile system; and Kalibr of the Kilo submarine.