The Russian Government has given export clearance for a new air-launched variant of the Raduga/Progress 3M80E supersonic anti-ship missile, a weapon that has not yet entered service with the Russian forces.

China will be the first export customer for the missile, which is likely to be deployed on Sukhoi Su-27s or Su-30s, which it is also in the process of acquiring.

Beijing has already ordered 50 ship-launched 3M80 (SS-N-22 Sunburn)missiles for its two Sovremenny class destroyers.

There has been opposition to the deal from the Russian ministry of defence, which previously vetoed attempts by the US Navy to buy the 3M80 for use as a target.

About 300 of the 3M80 missiles are believed to be in storage, with the Russian military unable to pay for them. Raduga has called for export of the 3M80 to raise funding for development of improved versions of the weapon for future acquisition by Russian forces.

Source: Flight International