Why did the russians never develop conventional ballistic missiles with maneuverable MIRVs accurate enough to hit carriers , like the DF series?
Because they have agreements limiting the number of ICBMs they are allowed to have... how many do you think they should take away from destroying important strategic targets in the west to engage aircraft carriers they already have land and sea based anti ship missiles to destroy?
Being able to equip SSBNs with anti ship BMs(like a conventionally armed bulava) wouldve been pretty useful to soften up CBG defenses, even if they're not that accurate.
Wouldn't it make more sense to use SLBMs to target things in Europe and the US and her bases around the world than wasting them on aircraft carriers, for which the SSGNs and cruisers and destroyers already had missiles?
The air force have very aeroballistic missiles, so why can't the bulava or Leiner be as accurate?
When they have Granit and Vulcan and X-22M and X-32 why waste valuable Bulava and Liner on such ineffective targets as US aircraft carriers... which have not been able to approach Russia to launch a strike for several decades now... and with Kinzhal on MiG-31Ks they are in an even worse position.
Historically Soviet solid rockets had really crap miniaturization. After being one of the leaders in solid rocket technology in WW2 the Soviet Union squandered that lead by massive investments into hypergolic rockets to the detriment of solids
To be fair liquid rocket motors are more powerful than solid rocket motors and allow engine shutdown and restart as well as the ability to throttle and use fuel efficiently.... unlike solid rocket fuel with fixed burning characteristics.
Just look at the size of the Typhoon class submarines because of those R-39 Rif missiles.
The R-39 is a 16m long 2.4m diameter missile that weighed 84 tons... the Liner missiles were liquid fuelled 1.9m diameter missiles that were 15 metres long that weighed 40 tons so the real differences were in weight and width... the Typhoon was big because it had a triple hull with two spaced hulls side by side and 20 launch tubes fitted to the sub.
The R-39 had a range of about 8,300km with 10 warheads and Liner a range of 8,300km with 12 warheads, but Liner is less than half the weight...
This made solid rockets to hit ships highly unwieldy.
They were slightly wider and slightly longer... not really enough to make much difference... but certainly a large amount heavier than their actual anti ship and anti carrier missiles which were much lighter.
Only recently in modern Russia has the gap been filled
I disagree... the S-300 SAM has been outperforming Patriot since the late 1970s, and their strategic missiles have been just as good across the board including cruise missiles.
Weight for weight the Russians are certainly no worse than the west, and in some areas despite backward electronics they had better systems.
Their anti ship missiles actually used swarm tactics the west is planning for future drones... things the Soviets had in service in the early 1980s.
Sensor fused top attack self forging fragment submunitions using MMW radar were used in Soviet artillery and aircraft cluster bombs in the late 1980s and about mid 1990s (1996 or so) they added IR sensors to prevent the munitions from attacking targets already burning... if they didn't detect a target by the time they hit the ground they flipped over and used their radar and IR sensors to detect vehicles driving over them and attacked hull belly armour like a mine...
There was talk about such things in the west but have they managed to put them into service?
The Russian systems are standardised for cluster bombs and standard rocket and gun tube artillery rounds in a range of calibres and weights.
You also need highly specialized modern electronics to have enough precision at those high velocities. That only became realistic in the late 1980s, early 1990s at best.
You need to lack a navy and other options to need to waste expensive strategic ballistic missiles on naval targets. China didn't have a navy so the cheapest simplest way to defend themselves was with ballistic missiles... and good on them... a clever choice... it is like asking why the US has such crap anti ship missiles as harpoon and tomahawk.... the reality is that their enemies really didn't have big enough and significant enough navies to warrant better missiles.
The Harpoon and Tomahawk are not amazing, but in the right situation certainly can sink ships... especially if they are unaware, but against a carrier group like the US operates they would be useless... but the US has never faced a fully operational enemy carrier group so carrying lots and lots of Harpoons is good enough.
Not any more... a modern Russian corvette could probably shoot down 30-50 Harpoons on its own and the Kuznetsov in its original form has 192 TOR missiles plus Kashtan batteries with more missiles and guns too and plenty of Ka-31 helicopters to be stationed around the ship so nothing could sneak up without warning...
And that is ignoring any cruisers and destroyers that will be operating with it.
Now multiply this by 34
Actually it is much much worse than that... a nuclear weapon designed to dive into the water before exploding can create an enormous mountain of super heated salt water 15-20km across that would bake sailors in their ships so the meat falls off their bones.
Early underwater tests with nuclear weapons used between 2K ton and 20K ton bombs and you have probably seen the photos of a huge wall of water and tiny little toy ships around the edges... those little ships are destroyers...
The craters are still present on the sea bed even today...
One of those 500kt Granit warheads blowing up is enough to bring down the carrier, the cruisers, the destroyers, and even the submarines below water with the carrier battlegroup.
It is worse for submarines... water does not compress so an explosion shockwave moving through water moves at incredible speed... in the same way as a row of marbles all touching... if you push on one side the marble at the other side moves immediately... it cannot compress so there are no gaps between the marbles so you have to wait for the marble to move a small distance and hit the next and the next and the next... the force moves like a wave through the water rather than as water moving... when it reaches the hull of a submarine inside the hull is air and air does compress so the hull collapses inward and the pressure inside the sub goes up enormously... if the sub is within 10km of a 2K ton explosion underwater it will be crushed and sunk...
It is like dealing with enemy divers in your harbour... don't piss around shooting rifle bullets into the water.... after about 2 metre they will slow down and be non lethal. Drop a grenade in there and watch all the dead fish and dead divers float to the surface as you destroy their float glands or crush their lungs respectively.
Its disingenious to compare cruise missiles to ballistic missiles. Ballistic missiles have ranges of thousands of kilmeters and can be launched from land, while only a handful of extremely expensive ships can carry granit.
The main carrier of Granit was Oscar class subs which carried 24 at a time.
Do you think the Chinese have more than 24 of these anti ship ballistic missiles?
Do they work.... do they test them?
Also cruise missiles are inherently easier to shoot down than ballistic missiles, and the antiship missile launchers, which are ships, aircraft and submarines have to be much closer to the CBG makig them more vulnerable.
Actually ballistic missiles are much more visible for most of their trajectory... they travel faster but you also get much more warning.
Low flying cruise missiles are still hard to stop if you don't know you are under attack... supersonic and hypersonic manouvering missiles even more so.
Oh, another "we dont need this very useful weapon because we have nukes" argument Rolling Eyes . this 500kt nuclear warhead is more survivable in a maneuverable reentry vehicle traveling at mach 12 and launched from 8000km away. Whats the point of building conventional anti-ship weapons at all then?
Yeah... using a nuclear warhead on a Granit is much more dangerous than Russia launching a strategic nuclear ICBM at a US aircraft carrier group.... they will start WWIII over a Granit coming from a submarine and they wont know who launched it, whereas an ICBM lifting off from Russian territory that they monitor will not be noticed and even though it will they wont think it is the first missile as part of an all out strategic nuclear attack...
Russia has anti carrier weapons... it does not need ballistic anti carrier weapons. Zircon will be 1000 times cheaper and more effective than any ICBM weapon they could come up with and vastly easier to hide or to use... without needing to resort to any nuclear payloads.
If the chinese could perfect antiship ballistic missiles with maneuverable reentry vehicles, then so could the Russians.
They could but the Russians and Soviets wanted to roam the worlds oceans and be able to defend themselves from US carrier groups anywhere they happened to be so they needed to take their anti carrier weapons with them... their current one is Onyx and their new one is Zircon and both are more portable and cheaper than a great big Chinese IRBM.
China seems to be building aircraft carriers too... presumably they want access to the world without needing US permission too... pretty soon they will likely reveal their hypersonic anti ship missile too if they have not already.
The russian hypergolic ballistic missiles are just as reliable as solid uel rockets. Again, theres no reason for the topol or bulava not to have a conventional maneuverable reentry vehicle that can destroy The Russians already have avangard, and there's no reason why it shouldnt have a conventional warhead for antiship strikes.
Except that such weapons are limited by treaty so instead of wasting them on US carriers they probably prefer to keep them for targets that will do more damage to the west.
A Kilo class submarine with a 15 Kilo ton torpedo could probably take down a US carrier group if it is that important to you... launch a spread of six of them to explode in a pattern all around the surface group running at very low speed long range mode so the Kilo can turn around and head away from the carnage... set to explode at a range of 50km perhaps with a running speed of perhaps 15-20 knots... the Kilo could get advanced information about teh carrier group from satellite
tracking to fire a spread of nuclear torpedos to reach a point ahead of the carrier group to arrive and just settle down deep under water...
The carrier group will be zig zagging but will generally be going somewhere and sailing along a rough line of travel that can be worked out easy enough. A spread of multiple weapons could be staggered to cover an enormous area of sea surface, which should ensure any subs operating with them will be inside the blast radius too.