The Russian nuclear-powered Kursk submarine, crippled by a technical fault and stuck on the bed of the Barents Sea
, is an aircraft carrier buster capable of launching up to 24 cruise missiles at a time. The 949 series submarines, Oscar-2 by NATO classification, form the backbone of Russia's anti-aircraft carrier force. The submarines, which carry more than 100 crew on board, are designed to tail aircraft carriers, keeping them within their firing range to be able to destroy them if ordered.
To do so, each vessel usually carries 24 SS-N-19 Granit nuclear-capable supersonic cruise missiles, nestled in rows outside its rigid hull. Each of the missiles, called Shipwreck by NATO, weighs seven tons and has a firing range of more than 500 km (310 miles). They are launched in salvos from one to 24 at a time.
Complementing the cruise missiles are 533 mm and 650 mm torpedoes, use to finish off enemy vessels damaged by the missile strike or repel attacks on the submarine itself. One Oscar-2 submarine is capable of sinking an aircraft carrier and several escorting warships. - (Reuters)