This one's a nightmare for anyone planning adequate and robust homeland security defenses - Reuters reports from Moscow that a Russian company is marketing a new cruise missile system which can be hidden inside a regular shipping container, potentially giving any merchant vessel the capability to wipe out an aircraft carrier.
The Club-K was put on the market at the Defense Services Asia exhibition in Malaysia for $15 million. At the exhibition, the marketing film showed the Club-K being activated from an ordinary truck and from an ordinary merchant vessel. The missiles, which have a range of 350 km (approx. 210 miles), are launched without further preparation and are targeting what looks like American ground and sea-based forces.
Defense analysts say that potential customers for the Club-K system include Iran and Venezuela â?? and, potentially, terrorist groups. Reuters quotes Robert Hewson of Janeâ??s Defense Weekly to say that â??at a stroke, the Club-K gives a long-range precision strike capability to ordinary vehicles that can be moved to almost any place on earth without attracting attention. The idea that you can hide a missile system in a box and drive it around without anyone knowing is pretty new,â? said Hewson, who is editor of Janeâ??s Air-Launched Weapons. â??Nobodyâ??s ever done that before.â?
Hewson estimated the cost of the Club-K system, which packs four ground or sea-launched cruise missiles into a standard 40-foot shipping container, at $10-20 million.
â??Unless sales are very tightly controlled, there is a danger that it could end up in the wrong hands,â? he said.