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P-70 Ametist


NATO: SS-N-7 Starbright


Overview


P-70 Ametist

Left side view of P-70 Ametist (SS-N-7 Starbright) missile on display. Note the booster rockets on the bottom left.
Source: Unknown author - © copyright lies with original owner

Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Anti-ship missile
Entered service
Late 1960's
Status
Out of service
Development
1960's
Developer
Soviet Union - OKB-52 Chelomei design bureau
Production
1966 - 1987
Producer
Soviet Union - NPO Mashinostroyeniye
Number produced
631 missiles built, production complete.
Designations
SS-N-7 Starbright (NATO reporting name)
4K66 (GRAU designation)
P-20L (early project name)
Notable users
Soviet Union
India

Description


Introduction

The P-70 Ametist is late Cold War era subsonic anti-ship missile of Soviet origin. It was developed in the 1960's for underwater launch by guided missile submarines, significantly improving chances of survival for the launch platform. In the West the P-70 is known by its NATO reporting name "SS-N-7 Starbright".

Design

The P-70 is a longer and sleeker missile than the older Soviet P-15 Termit. The guidance section and warhead are located in the nose. The main wings are folded within the launch container. Two booster engines on each side provides initial velocity upon launch. They are discarded when depleted and the solid fuel sustainer engine takes over. Flight altitude is about 60 meters above sea level.

Guidance

The P-70 is fitted with an active radar seeker. The first stage of flight uses inertial navigation. In the terminal phase the seeker switches on. There is no secondary seeker type.

Firepower

The P-70 is fitted with either a 500 kg shaped charge warhead or a 200 kT nuclear warhead. The maximum range is about 65 km. Various sources report a maximum range of 80 km. Possibly the latter range can be achieved when the launch platform is surfaced. The sustained flight speed is Mach 0.9. Flight altitude is about 60 meters above sea level.

Platforms


The P-70 was used as the primary armament on two types of nuclear powered attack submarines. The first and foremost being the Project 670 Skat (NATO: Charlie I) class with 8 launch tubes. The second being the sole Project 661 Anchar (NATO: Papa) class which carried 10 missiles. The submarines that launch the P-70 have forward angled launch tubes. These are flooded just before launch. Maximum depth of launch is 30 to 40 meters. Reportedly P-70 missiles can also be launched from P-120 launch tubes.

Users

The main user of the P-70 was the USSR. A small number of P-70 was included in the lease of a Charlie I submarine to India. When the USSR dissolved all remaining P-70 missiles were inherited by Russia. They were never in active service and in 1992 all launch platforms were out of service. Some sources indicate an official out of service date of 1995.

Variants


P-70 Ametist

Rear view of P-70 Ametist (SS-N-7 Starbright) missile on a trailer.
Source: S.Avilov - © copyright lies with original owner

P-70 Ametist

The P-70 Ametist is a subsonic sea skimming anti-ship missile of which only one model was produced. The missile is fitted with either a conventional shaped charge warhead or 200 kt nuclear warhead.

The P-120 Malakhit (NATO: SS-N-9 Siren) is a further development of the P-70 and looks rather similar. The P-70 can be distinguished from the later P-120 by being shorter, lacking the infrared seeker pod and having four booster rockets instead of two.

Details


Facts P-70 Ametist
General
Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Anti-ship missile
Dimensions
Length
7.0 m
Diameter
0.55 m
Wingspan
?
Weight
2.9 t without boosters
3.65 t with boosters
Guidance
Terminal phase
Active radar homing
Initial phase
Inertial navigation system
Warhead
Type
4G66 shaped charge warhead or 200 kt nuclear warhead
Weight
530 kg
Engagement envelope
Propulsion
Model 239P single-stage solid propellant rocket motor
Four booster rockets used upon launch
Speed
Mach 0.9
Range
65 or 80 km
Altitude
60 m flight altitude
Launch depth
30 - 40 m maximum

Media


Related articles


P-120 Malakhit

The P-120 Malakhit (NATO: SS-N-9 Siren) is a further development of the P-70. The P-120 remedies most weak points of the P-70.