TechP-800 Oniks missiles in Hezbollah's hands pose a potential threat to American ships

P‑800 Oniks missiles in Hezbollah's hands pose a potential threat to American ships

P-800 Oniks Missile
P-800 Oniks Missile
Images source: © Ukraine Front Lines

8:56 AM EST, November 16, 2023

The threats Hezbollah recently directed towards the United States are far from empty rhetoric. The Shia militant group is known to possess weapons that could pose a significant risk to modern warships, including the P-800 Oniks missiles. We delve into their capabilities.

Although Hezbollah has never officially confirmed its possession of modern anti-ship missiles, its leader, Hasan Nasr Allah, made a statement in early November, claiming that the organization has the means to threaten American ships in the region.

This assertion isn't an empty boast, recalling an event in 2006 during the Second Lebanese War. Hezbollah launched an attack that resulted in substantial damage to the Israeli Sa’ar 5-class corvette INS "Hanit", which had been partaking in a maritime blockade of Lebanon's coast.

Since that attack, expert opinion and commentators suggest that Hezbollah's capabilities have significantly increased, largely attributed to their access to P-800 Oniks/Yakhont missiles.

Related: Is this NATO equipment or Russian?

Russia supplied this weapon to Bashar al-Assad's regime, highlighting its significant importance and confirming Israeli concerns. In fact, in 2013, Israeli air forces attempted to dismantle the Syrian stockpile of Yakhonts, initiating an attack on a warehouse near Latakia.

Overview of the Anti-Ship P-800 Oniks Missile

The P-800 Oniks missile (Yakhont is the name of the export version) is a potent weapon designed to attack ships, specifically large ones such as aircraft carriers. This supersonic, maneuverable missile is considered one of the world's leading models in its category.

The P-800 Oniks is designed for launching from various platforms, including land (like the Bastion-P coastal defense system), aircraft, ship decks, and even underwater by submarines in the case of its P-800 Bolid variant.

This missile is nearly 30 feet long and weighs almost four tons. It is a two-stage missile capable of accelerating up to Mach 2.5, which enables it to attack targets nearly 186 miles away. It is also able to target land-based objects, facilitated by a powerful warhead that, depending on the variant, weighs between 441 to 662 lbs.

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