• A recent test launch of a Russian Kalibr missile ended with the missile plunging into the ocean.
  • The missile’s booster rocket misfired, leading the Kalibr to do sky donuts.
  • Kalibr is a subsonic cruise missile used against targets in Syria.

    A newly unearthed, undated video shows a Russian frigate launching a Kalibr cruise missile, with just one problem: the missile’s rocket booster sends it careening wildly out of control, eventually sending it plunging into the frigid waters of the Pacific Ocean.

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    The incident took place aboard the Russian guided missile frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov and involved a Kalibr-type cruise missile, an anti-ship and land-attack weapon powered by turbojet engines. Kalibrs are launched from armored missile silos using a rocket booster that accelerates the missile to the proper altitude and speed. The booster then burns out and falls away, and the missile’s turbojet engine takes over.

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    In this case, the frigate launches a Kalibr, but the booster suffers some kind of malfunction. In the video, the missile twists in circles in the air. At one point, the missile itself falls off the booster and plunges into the ocean, leaving the booster to continue spinning. The booster, which is now burning from both ends, falls in the water and appears to still turn underwater.

    Meanwhile, Marshal Shaposhnikov sails on by, as though it had nothing to do with it. Hat tip to Rob Lee for originally sharing the video.

    Kalibr is a 20-foot long subsonic cruise missile designed to fly low across enemy airspace. The land-attack version has a range of 932 to 1530 miles, and packs a 1,000-pound high explosive warhead. It’s roughly equivalent to the American Tomahawk missile. Russian forces have used Kalibr missiles against anti-regime targets in Syria.

    Marshal Shaposhnikov is a former Udaloy-class destroyer. Russia (then the Soviet Union) built the Shaposhnikov in 1983 as an anti-submarine warfare destroyer and finally refitted it in 2017 after 35 years in service. Reclassified as a frigate, Marshal Shaposhnikov received 16 vertical launch missile silos for Kalibr missiles—a considerable offensive punch.

    Here’s what it looks like when Marshal Shaposhnikov conducts a successful Kalibr launch:

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    YouTube is full of failed Russian missile launches. Here’s a video from 2000 that appears to show an S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile battery. The first S-300 takes off as planned. The second missile is ejected from its launch canister, but the rocket motor fails to ignite, and gravity takes care of the rest:

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    Here’s another S-300 misfire, this time in HD. The rocket ejects, but quickly falls back down to Earth, whereupon the rocket motor decides to ignite. The motor then begins to burn among what could be as many as three other missiles, all with their own fuel, and four missile warheads.

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    Finally, here’s another incident involving the Russian Navy’s Krivak-class frigate Ladny and SS-N-14 missiles. The missile exits one of the four large horizontally mounted launch tubes on the bow and quickly spins out of control:

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