RUSSIAN DESIGN bureaux are working on developing a shore-defence variant of the Raduga 3M-80E (SS-N-22 Sunburn) supersonic anti-ship missile, although the future of a programme to develop an air-launched variant is in doubt.

Altair design bureau officials say that they are in negotiation with the GRANIT central research institute about designing a shore-defence missile system based on the 3M-80E.

GRANIT has already designed a shore-defence missile system, dubbed Bal, based on the Zvezda Kh-35 (SS-N-25). The shore-based 3M-80E would probably include the Harpoon-B radar installation, which is part of the Bal system.

Altair officials have questioned the future of an air-launched variant of the Sunburn, at least as far as the Sukhoi Su-33, (Su-27K Flanker) is concerned.

They claim that the air-launched programme "...was not completed. It was suspended over two years ago".

A naval version of the Flanker was displayed at the Zhukovsky flight-test research centre in 1992, with an apparent mock-up of a 3M-80 mounted on a large centre-line pylon between the two engine bays.

Officials suggested then, that the weapon was being considered as part of the carrier-borne Su-27K's armament, although, no detailed integration work had been carried out.

Source: Flight International